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On the Interplay between Strategy and Management Control Systems

Aernoudts, R.H.R.M. (2008): On the Interplay between Strategy and Management Control Systems.

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Abstract

There is considerable academic interest for the interplay between strategy and management control systems (MCS). Strategic performance measurement systems (SPMS), such as Simons’ levers of control and Kaplan and Norton's balanced scorecard were introduced in the normative literature as vehicles for developing and implementing strategy. But there are also numerable case studies and surveys that investigate empirical evidence of the interplay between management control and strategy derived from management practices. This paper is a review of the extant literature aimed at identifying developments and gaps within this specific area of accounting research. To this end literature from six fields of research has been searched in a structured manner using exhaustive search algorithms. Studies are analysed using Mohr’s (1982) approaches to explanation and frameworks of Langfield-Smith (1997) and Keating (1995). The review by Langfield-Smith (1997) indicated that literature in this specific area of scholarly inquiry is characterized by a diversity of research designs and ambiguity in operationalization of - among other variables - strategy. Analysis of survey & case based research performed during the last decade reveals that operationalization of strategy is more than often based on one of the established strategy frameworks and is currently not as diverse as reported in Langfield-Smith (1997). Several scholars indicate that knowledge in this area is still rather limited, however comparison among studies provides insights that have not been made explicit.

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