IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/spr/jmgtco/v30y2019i2d10.1007_s00187-019-00282-z.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Stages of management control in a large public organization: from top to frontline managers

Author

Listed:
  • Carl Deschamps

    (University of Ottawa)

Abstract

We examine how the preferences of managers in using management control systems change at every hierarchical level and how these changes affect strategic alignment. Based on an extensive case study in a large Belgian public organization where performance management is a core philosophy, we report data from observations and interviews of managers to examine the differences in how managers use controls at each level. We find three principal trends in the use of controls, each representing a challenge in creating hierarchical alignment and consistency using management control systems. First, controls designed as boundaries tend to get progressively stricter down the hierarchy despite the intentions and efforts of top management. Second, while top management favours the design and use of diagnostic controls, frontline managers prefer to use interactive controls and direct information. Therefore, more effort is required at the frontlines in order to activate the control systems. Finally, boundaries create empowerment for managers at lower hierarchical levels, but only when they are able to find both a sense of direction and a sense of security and predictability in organizational control systems.

Suggested Citation

  • Carl Deschamps, 2019. "Stages of management control in a large public organization: from top to frontline managers," Journal of Management Control: Zeitschrift für Planung und Unternehmenssteuerung, Springer, vol. 30(2), pages 153-184, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:jmgtco:v:30:y:2019:i:2:d:10.1007_s00187-019-00282-z
    DOI: 10.1007/s00187-019-00282-z
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://link.springer.com/10.1007/s00187-019-00282-z
    File Function: Abstract
    Download Restriction: Access to the full text of the articles in this series is restricted.

    File URL: https://libkey.io/10.1007/s00187-019-00282-z?utm_source=ideas
    LibKey link: if access is restricted and if your library uses this service, LibKey will redirect you to where you can use your library subscription to access this item
    ---><---

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Raili Pollanen & Ahmed Abdel-Maksoud & Said Elbanna & Habib Mahama, 2017. "Relationships between strategic performance measures, strategic decision-making, and organizational performance: empirical evidence from Canadian public organizations," Public Management Review, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 19(5), pages 725-746, May.
    2. Berend van der Kolk & Wesley Kaufmann, 2018. "Performance measurement, cognitive dissonance and coping strategies: exploring individual responses to NPM-inspired output control," Journal of Management Control: Zeitschrift für Planung und Unternehmenssteuerung, Springer, vol. 29(2), pages 93-113, August.
    3. Marko Reimer & Sebastiaan Van Doorn & Mariano L. M. Heyden, 2016. "“Where the rubber hits the road”: a panel discussion on management control systems at the middle management level," Journal of Management Control: Zeitschrift für Planung und Unternehmenssteuerung, Springer, vol. 27(2), pages 281-287, May.
    4. Martin Guggenberger & Anna Rohlfing-Bastian, 2016. "Delegation of strategic decision-making authority to middle managers," Journal of Management Control: Zeitschrift für Planung und Unternehmenssteuerung, Springer, vol. 27(2), pages 155-179, May.
    5. Henri, Jean-Francois, 2006. "Management control systems and strategy: A resource-based perspective," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 31(6), pages 529-558, August.
    6. Berry, A.J. & Coad, A.F. & Harris, E.P. & Otley, D.T. & Stringer, C., 2009. "Emerging themes in management control: A review of recent literature," The British Accounting Review, Elsevier, vol. 41(1), pages 2-20.
    7. Christoph Ossege, 2012. "Accountability -- are We Better off Without It?," Public Management Review, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 14(5), pages 585-607, June.
    8. R. Alan Webb, 2004. "Managers' Commitment to the Goals Contained in a Strategic Performance Measurement System," Contemporary Accounting Research, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 21(4), pages 925-958, December.
    9. Mark Evans & Basil Phillip Tucker, 2015. "Unpacking the package," Qualitative Research in Accounting & Management, Emerald Group Publishing Limited, vol. 12(4), pages 346-376, October.
    10. Erik Strauß & Christina Zecher, 2013. "Management control systems: a review," Metrika: International Journal for Theoretical and Applied Statistics, Springer, vol. 23(4), pages 233-268, February.
    11. Thomas Ahrens & Christopher S. Chapman, 2004. "Accounting for Flexibility and Efficiency: A Field Study of Management Control Systems in a Restaurant Chain," Contemporary Accounting Research, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 21(2), pages 271-301, June.
    12. Widener, Sally K., 2007. "An empirical analysis of the levers of control framework," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 32(7-8), pages 757-788.
    13. Frances R. Westley, 1990. "Middle managers and strategy: Microdynamics of inclusion," Strategic Management Journal, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 11(5), pages 337-351, September.
    14. Davila, Tony & Wouters, Marc, 2005. "Managing budget emphasis through the explicit design of conditional budgetary slack," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 30(7-8), pages 587-608.
    15. Mundy, Julia, 2010. "Creating dynamic tensions through a balanced use of management control systems," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 35(5), pages 499-523, July.
    16. Hall, Matthew, 2010. "Accounting information and managerial work," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 28539, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    17. Linda Rouleau & Julia Balogun, 2011. "Middle Managers, Strategic Sensemaking, and Discursive Competence," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 48, pages 953-983, July.
    18. W. Christian Buss & Rosalie Kuyvenhofen, 2011. "Perceptions Of European Middle Managers Of Their Role In Strategic Change," Global Journal of Business Research, The Institute for Business and Finance Research, vol. 5(5), pages 109-119.
    19. Roberts, John & Scapens, Robert, 1985. "Accounting systems and systems of accountability -- understanding accounting practices in their organisational contexts," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 10(4), pages 443-456, October.
    20. Berend Van der Kolk & Tom Schokker, 2016. "Strategy implementation through hierarchical couplings in a management control package: an explorative case study," Journal of Management Control: Zeitschrift für Planung und Unternehmenssteuerung, Springer, vol. 27(2), pages 129-154, May.
    21. Robert Simons, 1994. "How new top managers use control systems as levers of strategic renewal," Strategic Management Journal, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 15(3), pages 169-189, March.
    22. Grabner, Isabella & Moers, Frank, 2013. "Management control as a system or a package? Conceptual and empirical issues," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 38(6), pages 407-419.
    23. Thomas Schaefer & Thomas Guenther, 2016. "Exploring strategic planning outcomes: the influential role of top versus middle management participation," Journal of Management Control: Zeitschrift für Planung und Unternehmenssteuerung, Springer, vol. 27(2), pages 205-249, May.
    24. William D. Guth & Ian C. Macmillan, 1986. "Strategy implementation versus middle management self‐interest," Strategic Management Journal, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 7(4), pages 313-327, July.
    25. Steven W. Floyd & Bill Wooldridge, 1997. "Middle Management’s Strategic Influence and Organizational Performance," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 34(3), pages 465-485, May.
    26. Ho, Joanna L.Y. & Wu, Anne & Wu, Steve Y.C., 2014. "Performance measures, consensus on strategy implementation, and performance: Evidence from the operational-level of organizations," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 38-58.
    27. Chahrazad Abdallah & Ann Langley, 2014. "The Double Edge of Ambiguity in Strategic Planning," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 51(2), pages 235-264, March.
    28. Hall, Matthew, 2010. "Accounting information and managerial work," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 35(3), pages 301-315, April.
    29. Torben Juul Andersen, 2004. "Integrating Decentralized Strategy Making and Strategic Planning Processes in Dynamic Environments," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 41(8), pages 1271-1299, December.
    30. Berend van der Kolk & Henk J. ter Bogt & Paula M.G. van Veen-Dirks, 2015. "Constraining and facilitating management control in times of austerity," Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, Emerald Group Publishing Limited, vol. 28(6), pages 934-965, August.
    31. Chenhall, Robert H., 2003. "Management control systems design within its organizational context: findings from contingency-based research and directions for the future," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 28(2-3), pages 127-168.
    32. David Naranjo-Gil, 2016. "Role of management control systems in crafting realized strategies," Journal of Business Economics and Management, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 17(6), pages 865-881, November.
    33. Otley, David T., 1980. "The contingency theory of management accounting: Achievement and prognosis," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 5(4), pages 413-428, October.
    34. Bisbe, Josep & Batista-Foguet, Joan-Manuel & Chenhall, Robert, 2007. "Defining management accounting constructs: A methodological note on the risks of conceptual misspecification," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 32(7-8), pages 789-820.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Graeme Harrison & Lu Jiao & Jinhua Chen, 2022. "Performance measurement systems and client performance in fee‐generating not‐for‐profit human service organisations," Accounting and Finance, Accounting and Finance Association of Australia and New Zealand, vol. 62(1), pages 931-957, March.
    2. Lu Jiao & Graeme Harrison & Jinhua Chen, 2023. "Revenue growth in not‐for‐profit organisations: The effects of interactive and diagnostic controls and organisational culture," Accounting and Finance, Accounting and Finance Association of Australia and New Zealand, vol. 63(2), pages 2273-2294, June.
    3. Monia Castellini & Vincenzo Riso, 2023. "Risk Management in Practice: A Multiple Case Study Analysis in Italian Municipalities," JRFM, MDPI, vol. 16(1), pages 1-15, January.
    4. Felício, Teresa & Samagaio, António & Rodrigues, Ricardo, 2021. "Adoption of management control systems and performance in public sector organizations," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 124(C), pages 593-602.
    5. Radiah Othman & Rashid Ameer, 2022. "In employees we Trust: Employee fraud in small businesses," Journal of Management Control: Zeitschrift für Planung und Unternehmenssteuerung, Springer, vol. 33(2), pages 189-213, June.
    6. Thomas Borup Kristensen & Henrik Saabye, 2021. "Increasing the enabling use of performance measures: a longitudinal quasi natural experiment," Journal of Management Control: Zeitschrift für Planung und Unternehmenssteuerung, Springer, vol. 32(3), pages 401-433, September.

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Demartini, Maria Chiara & Otley, David, 2020. "Beyond the system vs. package dualism in Performance Management Systems design: A loose coupling approach," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 86(C).
    2. Bisbe, Josep & Kruis, Anne-Marie & Madini, Paola, 2019. "Coercive, enabling, diagnostic, and interactive control: Untangling the threads of their connections," Journal of Accounting Literature, Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 124-144.
    3. Thomas Schaefer & Thomas Guenther, 2016. "Exploring strategic planning outcomes: the influential role of top versus middle management participation," Journal of Management Control: Zeitschrift für Planung und Unternehmenssteuerung, Springer, vol. 27(2), pages 205-249, May.
    4. Bedford, David S. & Malmi, Teemu & Sandelin, Mikko, 2016. "Management control effectiveness and strategy: An empirical analysis of packages and systems," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 12-28.
    5. Ulf Diefenbach & Andreas Wald & Ronald Gleich, 2018. "Between cost and benefit: investigating effects of cost management control systems on cost efficiency and organisational performance," Journal of Management Control: Zeitschrift für Planung und Unternehmenssteuerung, Springer, vol. 29(1), pages 63-89, March.
    6. Ossi Pesämaa, 2017. "Personnel- and action control in gazelle companies in Sweden," Journal of Management Control: Zeitschrift für Planung und Unternehmenssteuerung, Springer, vol. 28(1), pages 107-132, February.
    7. Sebastian Goebel & Barbara E. Weißenberger, 2017. "Effects of management control mechanisms: towards a more comprehensive analysis," Journal of Business Economics, Springer, vol. 87(2), pages 185-219, February.
    8. Ashish Varma & Adnan Khan, 2023. "Simons levers of control disentangled: A quasi-experiment into the competitiveness of hybrid firms," MANAGEMENT CONTROL, FrancoAngeli Editore, vol. 2023(2), pages 19-41.
    9. Bellora-Bienengräber, Lucia & Derfuss, Klaus & Endrikat, Jan, 2023. "Taking stock of research on the levers of control with meta-analytic methods: Stylized facts and boundary conditions," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 106(C).
    10. Bedford, David S. & Bisbe, Josep & Sweeney, Breda, 2019. "Performance measurement systems as generators of cognitive conflict in ambidextrous firms," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 72(C), pages 21-37.
    11. Fasshauer, Ingrid, 2012. "Les interactions entre contrôle et stratégie : redéfinition du rôle des cadres intermédiaires et du levier interactif de contrôle," Economics Thesis from University Paris Dauphine, Paris Dauphine University, number 123456789/11150 edited by Berland, Nicolas.
    12. Jürgen Harrer & Andreas Wald, 2016. "Levers of enterprise security control: a study on the use, measurement and value contribution," Journal of Management Control: Zeitschrift für Planung und Unternehmenssteuerung, Springer, vol. 27(1), pages 7-32, February.
    13. Chenhall, Robert H. & Moers, Frank, 2015. "The role of innovation in the evolution of management accounting and its integration into management control," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 1-13.
    14. Müller-Stewens, Benedikt & Widener, Sally K. & Möller, Klaus & Steinmann, Jan-Christoph, 2020. "The role of diagnostic and interactive control uses in innovation," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 80(C).
    15. P. Maik Hamann, 2017. "Towards a contingency theory of corporate planning: a systematic literature review," Management Review Quarterly, Springer, vol. 67(4), pages 227-289, August.
    16. Braumann, Evelyn C. & Grabner, Isabella & Posch, Arthur, 2020. "Tone from the top in risk management: A complementarity perspective on how control systems influence risk awareness," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 84(C).
    17. Christina Boedker & Kar Ming Chong, 2022. "The mediating role of accounting controls between supervisors' empowering leadership style and subordinates' creativity and goal productivity," Accounting and Finance, Accounting and Finance Association of Australia and New Zealand, vol. 62(4), pages 4587-4614, December.
    18. Habib Mahama & Zhichao (Alex) Wang, 2023. "Impact of the interactive and diagnostic uses of performance measurement systems on procedural fairness perception, cooperation and performance in supply alliances," Accounting and Finance, Accounting and Finance Association of Australia and New Zealand, vol. 63(3), pages 3253-3296, September.
    19. Agostino, Deborah & Arnaboldi, Michela, 2012. "Design issues in Balanced Scorecards: The “what” and “how” of control," European Management Journal, Elsevier, vol. 30(4), pages 327-339.
    20. Journeault, Marc & De Rongé, Yves & Henri, Jean-François, 2016. "Levers of eco-control and competitive environmental strategy," The British Accounting Review, Elsevier, vol. 48(3), pages 316-340.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Management control systems; Levers of control; Performance management; Public administration; Managerial autonomy;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • M11 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Administration - - - Production Management
    • M12 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Administration - - - Personnel Management; Executives; Executive Compensation
    • M40 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Accounting - - - General

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:spr:jmgtco:v:30:y:2019:i:2:d:10.1007_s00187-019-00282-z. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Sonal Shukla or Springer Nature Abstracting and Indexing (email available below). General contact details of provider: http://www.springer.com .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service. RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.