The Definition of Management Control Systems Essay

Research workers have been plagued with the trouble of clearly specifying the impression of direction control systems ( MCS ) .The different positions from which research workers have approached the survey of MCSs have created these fluctuations in definition ( Malmi and Brown 2008 ) . The disparity in positions has led to legion definitions of MCS with some of them overlapping, while others remain rather distinguishable ( Abernethy and Chua, 1996 ; Chenhall, 2003 ; Alvesson and Karreman, 2004 ) . For case, Kling and Iacono ( 1984 ) from a political position see control as an avenue of asseverating influence.

They posit that controls are designed by accountants to buster their ain involvement and preference. Orlikowski ( 1991 ) distinguished between internal and external signifiers of controls. Internal signifiers of control harmonizing to him involves higher-ups personally detecting subsidiaries, detailing the ‘job description ‘ , laid down regulations and processs and ‘technical substructures ‘ , while external controls may take the signifier of professional indoctrination and preparation. Kirsch, ( 1997 ) argued that persons who work in self-managing squads are in control of their ain activities and that controls may take the signifier of ‘traditional hierarchal relationship ‘ or may be exerted through punctilious hiring and preparation every bit good as shared political orientations. Handerson and Lee ( 1992 ) from a theoretical position opined that control mechanisms involve categorization of functions, assignment of duties and rating.

Some other research workers have taken a wider position of the construct of MCSs to include direction accounting ( MA ) patterns like budgeting, every bit good as constituents of direction accounting systems ( MAS ) which is the methodical application of MA directed at accomplishing organisational aims ( Malmi and Brown, 2008 ) and MCS which incorporates MAS and includes other signifiers of control like kin and personal controls doing it a broader term ( Chenhall, 2003 ; Ouchi, 1980 ) . Merchant and Van der Stede, ( 2007 ) took a narrower position of what constitutes MCS by dividing direction control from strategic control and specifying ‘management control as covering with employees ‘ behavior ‘ ( p.8 ) and a necessary guard to shock absorber against timeserving behaviors and cut down the possibilities of people moving contrary to organisational principles ( Eisenhardt, 1989 ) .The seminal work of St. simons, ( 1995 ) has been widely referred to in the literature. In his model, he defined direction control systems ( MCS ) as ‘the formal, information-based modus operandis and processs directors use to keep or change forms in organisational activities ‘ ( St. simons, 1995, p.5 ) .

Merchant and Otley ( 2006 ) and Widener ( 2007 ) defined MCS in footings of purpose-providing information necessary for planning, decision-making and rating. Some other research workers have referred to command as a agency of accomplishing end congruity in organisations. Flamholtz et Al. ( 1979 ) for case defined controls as ‘attempts by the organisation to increase the chance that persons and groups will act in ways that will take to the attainment of organisational ends ‘ ( p.36 ) . Langfied-Smith ( 1997 ) suggested that MCSs serve as avenues for deriving cooperation among group of persons or units of an organisation that may hold common aims that are non to the full congruous and directing attempts to specific organisational aim. Malmi and Brown ( 2008 ) postulate that the disagreements and incompatibilities in the conceptualisation of MCS has created some jobs in MCS research with regard to the reading of consequences obtained and the design of MCS. They so suggested that these issues could be made clearer by get downing with the “ managerial jobs of directing employee behavior.

Those systems, regulations, patterns, values and other activities direction put in topographic point in order to direct employee behavior should be called direction controls. ” ( p.290 ) . They explained further that if these systems are complete alternatively of simple regulations, so they could be referred to as MCSs and that accounting systems designed with the purpose of back uping determination devising at any degree in the organisation but that does non involved monitoring those systems should be disregarded as MCS and instead be termed MAS. Bisbe and Otley ( 2004 ) defined MCS as a “ a set of processs and processes that directors and other organisational participants use in order to assist guarantee the accomplishment of their ends and the ends of their organisations ” ( p.709 ) and that it constitutes both formal and informal control systems which includes societal and personal controls.2.1 Formal controls“ Formal controls are written, direction initiated mechanisms which influence the chance that employees or group will act in ways that support the declared aims of the organisation ” ( Ayers Gordon and Schoenbachler, 2001, p.

135 ) . Formal controls include elements of organisational construction such as decision-making regulations, well-outlined statement of outlooks, precise wages constructions, and standards for rating ( Jaworski, 1988 ; Ayers et al. , 2001 ) . Harmonizing to Leatherwood and Spector ( 1991 ) formal control systems are designed entirely or partially to supervise the chief agent relationship in concern organisations.

These involve high grade of end product and procedure control ( Cravens et al. , 2004 ) .Formal controls harmonizing to Langfield-Smith ( 1997 ) are those nonsubjective constituents of the control system which are more seeable and include standard processs of operation, regulations and budgeting systems. He noted that most empirical research on MCS has focused on formal controls which include consequences or end product controls and are feedback oriented. They are controls intended to accomplish specific aims ( Langfield-Smith, 1997 ) . Formal MCS consist of doggedly designed, information based modus operandis, precise sets of constructions, processs and processes that directors employ to do certain that their organisation ‘s schemes and policies are carried out or, where necessary that they are adapted ( Bisbe and Otley, 2004 ) . Formal control systems serve as mechanisms for minimising uncertainness and may besides hold a reticent consequence in commanding existent work ( Sandelin, 2008 ) .

The effectivity of formal control systems are enhanced in a stable environment where modus operandi behaviors are required by employees and can be monitored and end product measured ( Baucus and Near, 1991 ; Ouchi, 1977 ; 1980 ) . Formal systems encourages employees to pay more attending on factors that drive the economic involvement of the organisation and orient behavior towards the accomplishment of fit economic ends ( Falkenberg and Herremans, 1995 ) . Falkenberg and Herremans ( 1995 ) identified cardinal elements of formal control systems to include, organisational aims, budgets, public presentation measuring system, wages standards and codifications of moralss. They opined that formal controls set the criterions upon which employees behaviors are compared to do them more predictable and therefore cut down uncertainness for an organisation ‘s direction.The work of Simons ( 1995 ) levers of control which focused chiefly on formal modus operandi activities, procedures and processs that encompasses budgets, programs, supervising systems, market portion every bit good as informal procedures that have consequence on behavior has been widely referred to in the literature ( Bisbe and Otley, 2004 ; Sandelin, 2008 ; Toumela, 2005 ; Widener, 2007, Abernethy and Brownell, 1999, Mundy, 2010 ) . Simons ‘ distinguished between beliefs, boundary, synergistic and diagnostic control systems. Harmonizing to Simons ( 1995 ) , two of the levers of control ( i.

e. , beliefs systems and boundary systems ) direct the organisations hunt activities and are both fluctuations on formal control systems.2.1.1 Beliefs systemsThe complexness of the concern environment in recent old ages has encouraged organisations to put out an outlined beliefs system with good structured mission statements, visions and schemes that enable it to stay competitory ( Simons, 1995 ; Mundy, 2010 ) . ‘A belief system is the expressed set of organisational definitions that senior directors communicate officially and reenforce consistently to supply basic values, intent and way for the organisation ‘ ( St. simons 1995, p.34 ) .

Beliefs systems are officially initiated and communicated in organisations through paperss like mission statements, statements of intent and creed. They express massages about the nucleus values of the organisation and serve the intent of animating and steering the organisational hunt and find ( Mundy, 2010 ) . Beliefs systems aid in undertaking jobs and implementing schemes and besides serve as avenues for actuating persons to seek for alternate ways of making value ( Simons 1995, Simons, 2000 ) . The organisational beliefs systems enables directors to transform the abilities of persons in the organisation into incorporate organisational end product by doing certain that every person has a clear apprehension of the organisation ‘s intent and what part or function he/she has to play towards realizing such intent.2.1.

2 Boundary SystemsThe boundary system as the name implies sets the bound or demarcates the acceptable sphere to which participants activities are allowed ( Simons, 1995 ; Bisbe and Otley, 2004 ; Widener, 2007 ) . Boundary systems in contrast to beliefs systems do non qualify positive thoughts but instead create barriers based on acceptable concern hazard when encompassing chances. The organisation ‘s beliefs system and boundary system work together. While the beliefs systems provides organisational principle and drift that motivates and steer single seeking chances within an unrestrained infinite, the boundary systems conveys the bounds within the sphere that is acceptable ( Simons 1995 ) . Working in tandem, the beliefs systems and boundary systems alter chance infinite into a focussed domain of influence that participants are encouraged to work and therefore cut down waste of organisational resources ( Mundy, 2010 ) . Fiscal hazards are checked by the usage of fiscal informations to set up bounds, while the non fiscal informations sets boundaries for strategic applications ( Tuomela, 2005 ) .2.

1.3 Diagnostic control systemsThese are formal MCSs that provide a comparing between consequences obtained from existent activity and planned aims ( Mundy, 2010 ) . Diagnostic control systems relay responses that gives way as to the rightness or otherwise of existent public presentation and service as the nervus Centre of traditional direction control systems by guaranting the predictability of carry throughing set marks ( Simons, 1995 ) .

Mundy ( 2010 ) points out that directors use diagnostic controls to observe fluctuation and exclusion from set aims. That while the fiscal informations designate when aims are being realized, the non fiscal processs aid directors to command decisive success factors. The complexness of runing a big organisational scene necessitates the usage of ego enterprise by subsidiaries in making critical determinations, therefore diagnostic control systems help in guaranting that results are in melody with program ( s ) and necessary disciplinary steps implemented to look into divergences of results from programs ( Simons 1995 ) . Diagnostic controls have besides be lauded for their ability to actuate directors towards accomplishing outlined aims instead than being merely constrains on directors ‘ influence ( Mundy, 2010 ) .2.1.4 Synergistic control systemsSynergistic controls make certain a free flow of communicating between directors and subsidiaries and guarantee the engagement of both parties in making a decisive understanding on the cardinal premises and action programs that propels organisational activities ( Mundy, 2010 ) . Managers employ interaction to prioritise organisational aims and to promote the preparation of new schemes ( Simons, 1995, Mundy, 2010 ) .

Mundy, ( 2010 ) asserts that ‘any MCS that facilitates formal procedure of argument can be used interactively. For illustration, directors involved in budgetary procedures and the design of public presentation measuring systems in order to portion information and cut down spreads in cognition ‘ ( p.3 ) is an synergistic control system. Synergistic control steps pave manner for treatment in a facilitative non invasive manner and enables directors to maintain informed with subordinates activities ( Mundy, 2010 ; Abernethy and Brownell, 1999 ; Simons, 1995 ) . Formal systems of control are more apt to command behavior when ethical issues of precedence are issues related to financess, assets or fraud, nevertheless because of the complexness of the concern environment, pecuniary issues are a infinitesimal portion of ethical concerns and the formal system is missing in range, lissomeness and sensitiveness required to undertake the complexness of ethical issues ( Falkenberg and Herremans, 1995 ) . The traditional steps of control and behaviors have been found missing in efficiency in fortunes where the ability to mensurate result is low and where there be imperfectness in cognition of the transmutation system ( Pierce and Sweeney, 2005 ) .

Controls in organisations have besides been found to take different signifiers like personal surveillance necessitating higher-ups ‘ observation of subsidiaries which is a non formal control mechanism. The personal appeal of the superior in inquiry has besides been acclaimed to be a utile signifier of control ( Daft and Macintosh, 1984 ; Ouchi, 1977 ) .2.3 Informal ControlsIn add-on to the constitution by research workers that decision-makers depend on formal control structures every bit good as steps to give determinations the glaze of objectiveness and independency, it was besides established that force per unit area to organisational trust and legality can be reduced by appealing to imposts and norms ( Sitkin and George, 2005 ) . Although companies have traditionally relied on formal control mechanisms like planning, standardisation and centralisation, many organisations are progressively fall backing to informal mechanisms of control like partaking in commissions and squads every bit good as leting inputs in the determination devising procedure and by and large command that emanates from the shared norms and values in organisations and the socialisation of members to these values ( Gomez and Sanchez, 2005 ) .Informal controls are unwritten mechanisms, normally initiated by workers, designed to impact the behavior of forces in organisations ( Jaworski, 1993 ) . Harmonizing to Friedkin ( 1983 ) , informal control is defined as comprising of “ a procedure for monitoring and measuring public presentation and a procedure for act uponing the monitored and evaluated public presentation ( p.

55 ) . In a communicating web, informal control procedure rarely includes individuals who are more than two stairss apart in the web or who portion a little figure of contacts in the connexion, but instead occurs where there is a high grade of coherence in the web ( Friedkin, 1983 ) , proposing that whereas formal mechanisms are touchable in nature the informal mechanisms are instead elusive and elusive ( Gomez and Sanchez, 2005 ) .Informal controls are normally non laid out in document signifier ( Jaworski, 1988 ) . Two signifiers that informal control could presume are: single degree and kin or group degree ( Kirsch, 1997 ) . Clan control involves establishing common values, beliefs and norms, specific ends or aims which are normally unidentified at the beginning of an activity, but alternatively evolves over clip ( Ouchi, 1979 ; 1980 ) . Individual degree of control applies when persons set their ain marks for a peculiar undertaking, and travel in front to guarantee they discipline themselves to execute, cautiousness and honor their attempts ( Kirsch, 1997 ) . Clan control could be observed when organisations have development criterions that are non laid out in documented signifier but instead in the signifier of ‘unwritten policy of utilizing field names as defined in the informations lexicon ‘ ( Kirsch, 1997, p.

217 ) ; Ouchi, 1979 ; 1980 ) . Harmonizing to Kirsch and Cummings ( 1996 ) , the presentation of ego control is more frequent among professionals who spend longer term in the organisation and are opportune to better, redefine and widen the work processs and methods that exist. The informal systems focused on continuing equal force per unit area and heightening appropriate personal values applied to societal jussive moods ( Chenhall, 2003 ) . It is more concerned with promoting socially antiphonal determination devising that are in melody with organisation ‘s documented values ( Norris and O’Dwyer, 2004 ) .

The acceptance of a system of cultural control in organisations has deduction on the choice procedure, preparation every bit good as monitoring of employees. It requires the integrating of employees into the organisation civilization ( Baliga and Jaeger, 1984 ) . Thus attending is given to employee choice procedure and accomplishments required for the occupation must be backed with a compassionate conformity to organisational civilization ( Baliga and Jaeger, 1984 ) . In the face of uncertainness in both positions, cultural and clan control is more suited ( Wilkins and Ouchi, 1983 ) . The distinction of informal systems emanates from its control of behavior in vague and unforeseen fortunes ( Falkenberg and Herremans, 1995 ) . Informal schemes contravene about all conventional prescription of wisdom ( Fortado, 1994 ) .

The informal system alternates from being the strongest point to the most delicate system for promoting the desired behavior ( Noreen, 1988 ) . The breakability of the informal system stems from its authority which ensures that congruent or incongruent behaviors are promoted depending on the implied cognition created by the informal system ( Falkenberg and Herremans, 1995 ) . The informal system has a dominate function that influences ethical struggles that are considered by members of an organisation and therefore the declaration procedure and features ( Sims, 1992 ; Noreen, 1988 ) . The effectivity of the informal control is more marked where it is hard to supervise public presentation ( Martinez and Jarillo, 1991 ) . Informal controls have been found to hold a dominant function in most organisations where they are outstanding ( Tsamenyi et al, 2008 ) . However, Daft and Macintosh ( 1984 ) articulated the being of different signifiers of controls runing in the organisational hierarchy.2.4 Interaction between Formal and Informal ControlsResearch workers have asserted that controls do non be independently but combine to bring forth synergic consequence that affect the attainment of set aims ( Anthony, 1952 ; Dalton, 1971 ; Hopewood, 1974 ; Jaworski et al.

, 1993 ) . Martinez and Jarillo, ( 1991 ) argue that researches have revealed the incorporation of both formal and informal control mechanisms with personal and cultural controls as constituents.Flamholtz ( 1979 ) noted that control systems are directed at certain ends and that the ideal intent of a control system is non to do people conform to certain norms of behavior but directed at act uponing determination devising and actions intended to accomplish set ends. Unfortunately, the formal control system entirely is missing in capacity, lissomeness and sensitiveness to come to clasps with the complications inherent in accomplishing these aims ( Falkenberg and Herremans, 1995 ) . Sitkins and George ( 2005 ) for case postulate that although research workers have established that determination doing depends on formal control constructions and processs to give determinations the strength of objectiveness, it was besides noted that menace to organisational legality and belief can be reduced by prosecuting to traditional norms.Jaworski et al. , ( 1993 ) distinguished two wide categories of control i.

e. formal and informal controls and opined that to hold a full apprehension of the importance of direction controls, there is the demand to give precedence to the concurrent usage of multiple controls. This is in tandem with assorted averments by old research workers like Anthony ( 1952 ) who being one of the innovators in the probes of controls noted that controls do non be in isolation, but that it is “ easy to overemphasise the formal control mechanism and lose wholly or underemphasize the informal controls ” ( p.46 ) . The arrangement of accent on formal controls is partially the consequence of their being easier to detect and measure ( Jaworski, et al. , 1993 ) .

Dalton ( 1971 ) argued that the assorted signifiers of controls are non independent of each other as echoed by Hopewood ( 1974 ) that formal controls entirely can non take to an effectual control system in a complex organisation, but that professional controls must be managed at the same time. However, Kirsch ( 1997 ) argues that what constitutes a satisfactory formal control or gives the penetration that an gettable control mechanism is suited remains ill-defined. That is how much of formal control that is appropriate before it could be supplemented with informal control or what state of affairss warrant more usage of either signifiers of control is non clearly defined.2.

5 Management control systems in developing statesDespite being antecedently ignored, research on accounting in less developed states ( LDCs ) has received an impressive attending in the last two decennaries with researches crossing across continents ( Alawattage et al. , 2007 ; Asechemie and Ikeri, 1999 ; Ezzamel et al. , 2007 ; Hoque and Hopper, 1994 ; Tsamenyi et al. , 2004, 2008 ; Baydoun and Willet, 1995 ) . Their importance has been emphasized and welcomed as they are thought to be a development in the right way because of the significance of LDCs in universe trade ( Hopper et Al, 2009 ) .Findingss from assorted researches point to the decision that there are no differences or in appropriate patterns in accounting techniques in LDCs though they are presumed to be in ‘traditional sectors ‘ ( Hopper et al. , 2009 ) . Differences that could be attributed to MAS could be traced to cultural orientation, economic every bit good as political political orientations ( Hopper et Al, 2009 ) .

Although there has been turning involvement in direction accounting research in LDCs in recent old ages, the work of Hopper et al. , ( 2009 ) is a good articulated and comprehensive research that has stretched the length and comprehensiveness of LDCs. Their work which reviewed bing literatures on researches in LDCs from the colonial epoch through province capitalist economy to market capitalist economy gives an expert penetration into the being, growing and development of MASs in LDCs.An apprehension of colonialism and its bequests are cardinal to the apprehension of MASs and accounting as a whole in the bulk LDCs. This is because colonialism changed the manner of production from its feudal nature where captains were in control of land ownership and productiveness and income governed by assiduity, demands and such elements ( Hopper et al. , 2009 ) . Traditional societies were nevertheless non devoid of ways of accounting. Evidence supports the being MASs built-into household and cultural values in Chinese Qing dynasty epoch, and acknowledged the separation of fiscal responsibilities, usage of hard currency controls and budgets, although their effectivity and lissomeness where subdued by power distance ( Chan et al.

, 2001 ) . Asechemie ( 1997 ) contends the continuity of traditional values in African Accounting systems in the informal economic sector. Accounting has besides been found to be a utile tool for determining cultural individualities ( Constable and Kuasirikun, 2007 ) .

Traditional and capitalist manner of operation were embraced by the colonial provinces and evolved from merchandisers ‘ capital to exports of trade goods through to imperialism ( Hindess and Hirst, 1977 ) . Accounting has been said to back up bondage in British imperium and a agency of exerting control in plantations from far distances and has served a critical agency of subjecting activities to command ( Annisette and Neu, 2004 ; Tyson et al. , 2004 ; Bush and Maltby, 2004 ) . Ethnicity was found to hold an impact on MAS in the colonial epoch, ( Alawattage and Wicramasinghe, 2008 ) found that struggles between workers in Sri-Lankan plantation resulted in racially motivated MAS on tea estates. Similar findings by Robotham, ( 1989 ) and Ayensu, ( 1997 ) in Ghana suggest that cultural and spiritual divide between the North and South was of import to the manner workers were regarded. These cultural divide is said to still be influential on MASs maps in LDCs as it was in the yesteryear ( Hopper et al.

, 2009 ) . MAS employed by imperialist houses may hold served the intent of planning and directing focal point on ends, nevertheless attending was placed on fiscal coverage for answerability and to maintain abreast with expected remittals. Bureaucratic controls like MAS may hold had small import in the colonial epoch because of the coercive nature of controls that existed ( Hopper et Al, 2009 ) .State capitalist economy presented a state of affairs where the province had a dominant function in finance and capital markets, controlled greater portion of the gross domestic merchandise, employment chances, the support of most industrial activities every bit good as administering resources to public endeavors ( Uddin and Hopper, 2001 ; Hopper et al. , 2009 ) . Legislative proceedings allowed the province significant control over province owned endeavors with accounting playing a polar function. Audited histories that were made available to the parliament via ministries were the life wire of answerability ( Uddin and Hopper, 1991 ; Wicramasinghe and Hopper, 2005 ) . Although anterior MAS researches give acceptance to benefits of centralised planning, industrialisation and public ownership with accounting playing a cardinal function ( Seidler, 1967 ; Bryceson, 1999 ) , Needles ( 1976 ) contends that an in-depth apprehension of the political, cultural, societal and legal environment is critical.

Ghartey ( 1985 ) articulated cynicism over claims by Mirghani ( 1982 ) that ambiguity in development planning could be abridged by following a broader MAS embracing local and non replicas of Western development theoretical accounts. He based his statement on authorities domination of control in most African states, ineffectual institutional constructions and inconsistent policies among other factors.Market capitalist economy are the direct consequences of the influences of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund ( IMF ) structural accommodation programmes ( SAP ) stipulations to be met in other to measure up for loans, necessitating less authorities intervention, competition, free trade, public sector reform and private beginnings of capital ( Hopper et al.

, 2009 ) . The mechanism of market capitalist economy should be able to excite economic public presentation through effectual coordination and control giving off debatable accounting based on province dependent ordinances ( Peasnell, 1993 ) .Market capitalist economy has nevertheless been criticized for disregarding local opposition to denationalization, hapless fiscal systems for the sale of equity, local demands and questionable grounds that private endeavors perform better than province owned endeavors ( Hopper et al. , 2009 ; Cook and Kirkpatrick, 1995 ) .

Stiglitz ( 2002 ) argued that IMF ( solutions ) has non made things better but have instead worsen or created more jobs by promoting planetary fiscal involvement.Chapter SummarySeveral researches exist implicating direction accounting in the determination devising and command procedure of organisational activities ( Janes, 2009 ; Friedl et al. , 2009, Inglis and Clift, 2008 ; Lea, 2007, Frezatti et al. , 2006 ) grounds suggest the being of signifiers of control other than that implied by direction accounting and have been branded informal ( Ouchi, 1977 ; Noreen, 1998 ; Sitkin and George, 2005 ) . However, much has non been done to determine the manner of operation, coexistence of these signifiers of controls and how they interaction to carry through predetermined organisational ends.

The current work seek to turn to this spread and takes the probe down to LDCs which have been found to play a important function in universe trade but have received minimum attending in this country of research.The research work adopts the new institutionalism model which acknowledges the being of different institutional constructions in different state to measure formal and informal manners of control. “ Formal controls are written, direction initiated mechanisms which influence the chance that employees or group will act in ways that support the declared aims of the organisation ” ( Ayers Gordon and Schoenbachler, 2001 ) . Gomez and Sanchez, ( 2005 ) among others posit that direction of organisations are increasing fall backing to other signifiers of controls other than the formal control processs instituted by the organisation.However, research workers have besides found that while these different signifiers of controls have much benefits to offer organisations, a alliance of controls ( i.

e. formal and informal ) sandwiched into the organisational control system produce the coveted effects and drive organisations towards accomplishing their set ends. It hence becomes pertinent that a survey be made on how these controls interact to extinguish ambiguity in their application in organisations.