Research Seminars

"A contribution to the theoretical frameworks guiding management control system design"

Speaker: Olivier SAULPIC
ESCP-EAP

5 November 2004 - From 14h00 to 16h00

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The answer to the questions of management control tool selection and, more broadly, system design

and implementation, cannot be found in books that are tantamount to a user's guide: systems are being described for

themselves, without any reference to a
“theory” of management control, i.e. a conceptual framework that would allow for an

understanding of their pros and cons. General managers are thus in search of guides to better manage new tool implementation.

Agreeing with Otley (1999) amongst others, our claim is thus that existing frameworks are insufficient. Our work is based on

two cases involving the new implementation of management tools. These cases analysis show that
important issues of

management control include solving co-ordination, incentives and learning problems simultaneously. We thus propose to

contribute to the building of a conceptual framework for management control by including co-ordination of action plans to the

goals of management control systems, beside incentives and learning and by
concentrating on the paradoxes between these

goals. We show that the description of the objectives of a new tool using this framework could help its implementation.

Moreover, we show that this could lead to an in-depth renewal of the design of management control systems and to a better

analysis of proposed tools by applying this framework to analyse well known tools such as BSC, EVA or budgetary procedures.

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