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How a multiple orientation of control reduces governance failures: a focus on monastic auditing

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  • Emil Inauen

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  • Margit Osterloh
  • Bruno Frey
  • Fabian Homberg

Abstract

This paper considers multiple control systems at the organizational level and argues for a nuanced and multifaceted approach for internal governance. For this undertaking, we look at a little-examined control and auditing instrument, the formalized audit procedures of Roman Catholic orders. These so-called visitations are one important pillar in the monastic governance system to counter aberrations. Utilizing surveys and interviews, we examine 96 Roman Catholic religious communities in Austria, Germany and Switzerland, and connect these visitations procedures with rule violations and sexual abuse cases. We argue that communities unaffected by scandals and rule violations rely strongly on process and clan control to address inefficiency and misconduct; whereas, affected communities focus more on business issues. We caution against the trend of relying predominantly on output-based processes while suggesting a balance between different types of control systems. Furthermore, we enhance the current discourse by considering implementation procedures of control. The religious orders attach great importance to the way control measures are carried out. To steer the behavior of their members, many successful orders even complement controls with personal support and identity strengthening. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Suggested Citation

  • Emil Inauen & Margit Osterloh & Bruno Frey & Fabian Homberg, 2015. "How a multiple orientation of control reduces governance failures: a focus on monastic auditing," Journal of Management & Governance, Springer;Accademia Italiana di Economia Aziendale (AIDEA), vol. 19(4), pages 763-796, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:jmgtgv:v:19:y:2015:i:4:p:763-796
    DOI: 10.1007/s10997-014-9292-y
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