Management control systems and their effects on strategy formation at middle-management levels: evidence from a U.K. organization
Article first published online: 4 SEP 2002
Copyright © 2002 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Strategic Management Journal
Volume 23, Issue 11, pages 1019–1031, November 2002
How to Cite
Marginson, D. E. W. (2002), Management control systems and their effects on strategy formation at middle-management levels: evidence from a U.K. organization. Strat. Mgmt. J., 23: 1019–1031. doi: 10.1002/smj.271
- Issue published online: 24 SEP 2002
- Article first published online: 4 SEP 2002
- Manuscript Accepted: 3 MAY 2002
- Manuscript Received: 12 NOV 1998
- management control systems;
- strategy formation;
- middle managers
The relationship between management control systems (MCS) and the strategy process is a largely unexplored area of strategic management. This paper reports the findings of an in-depth, longitudinal case study of a major British-based organization operating within the increasingly globalized telecommunications industry. Informed by Simons' (1991, 1994, 1995) theoretical model of the strategy process–MCS relationship, the study examines the nature and extent of this relationship at middle- and lower-management levels. Of particular interest were the effects that the design and use of three groups of MCS have on the development of new ideas and initiatives. Findings suggest that beliefs systems influence managers' initiation or ‘triggering’ decisions, the use of administrative controls affects the location of strategic initiatives and may lead to the polarization of roles, and simultaneous emphasis on a range of key performance indicators can create a bias towards one set of measures and against another. Copyright © 2002 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.