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Management control system and strategy: the transforming role of implementation

Graziano Coller, Maria Laura Frigotto and Ericka Costa

Journal of Applied Accounting Research, 2018, vol. 19, issue 1, 141-160

Abstract: Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to encourage a discussion of the implementation of management control systems (MCSs) in the MCS-strategy relationship. Borrowing from the literature on software development, the authors propose two archetypes of MCS implementation – waterfall and agile – and employ them to understand how the MCS-strategy fit unfolds over time. Design/methodology/approach - The authors empirically ground the archetypes on two exploratory case studies based on the collection of extensive qualitative data. Findings - The authors show that MCSs change not only in relation to strategy, but also in response to an autonomous source: implementation. These two implementation archetypes differ in their degrees of specification, in the ways in which the transitions among their implementation phases occur and in the sources and ways in which their feedback loops affect the MCSs; however, both shed light on the dynamic dimension of fit and show that the fit should be assessed over time. Research limitations/implications - The two archetypes are derived from two exploratory cases. Further research may both strengthen the framework by testing the validity of the archetypes for a wider set of empirical cases and enrich the framework by investigating the determinants of agile and waterfall MCS implementation. Practical implications - The introduction of MCS implementation to the determinants of fit or misfit provides practitioners with a further interpretation and an action driver for fit or misfit. MCS implementation should be coordinated with the pace of change of strategy and should be changed in relation to the possibility for an organisation to move from a process- to a people-centred system (or vice versa). Originality/value - The authors propose two archetypes of MCS implementation, both of which support the empirical interpretation and theoretical reconceptualisation of the concept of the MCS-strategy fit in terms of dynamic fit.

Keywords: Strategy; Implementation; Case study; MCS; Agile/Waterfall; Dynamic fit (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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