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Enabling control and the problem of incomplete performance indicators
School of Management, University of Innsbruck, Innsbruck, Austria.
Örebro University, Örebro University School of Business. School of Management, University of Innsbruck, Innsbruck, Austria. (CEROC)ORCID iD: 0000-0003-0933-5918
2012 (English)In: Accounting, Organizations and Society, ISSN 0361-3682, E-ISSN 1873-6289, Vol. 37, no 8, p. 544-564Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

To which extent do managers care about the design characteristics of performance indicators and other control systems? The paper examines this question with the help of the framework of enabling and coercive control. Drawing upon data from a longitudinal field study in a manufacturing organisation, we study operational managers’ attitudes towards the incompleteness of performance indicators. Managers are likely to perceive performance indicators as enabling if the latter facilitate their actions without unduly constraining them. This is true even for incomplete performance indicators as long as managers can handle these indicators in a flexible way, treating them as means rather than ends when carrying out their work. Our case also shows, however, how a flexible use of indicators becomes more difficult to sustain once top management signals an increased importance of the indicators. Incompleteness then becomes a more pressing concern for managers. We illuminate the various forms of top management sense-giving through which such tightening of control is achieved and we show how they translate into managers’ perception of the control system as being a coercive rather than enabling one. Taken together, the findings of the present paper add to our understanding of enabling and coercive forms of control and also extend previous studies that have addressed the problem of incomplete accounting information.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2012. Vol. 37, no 8, p. 544-564
Keywords [en]
Enabling control, performance measurement system
National Category
Business Administration
Research subject
Business Studies
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-32186DOI: 10.1016/j.aos.2012.08.002ISI: 000312045500003Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-84869095249OAI: oai:DiVA.org:oru-32186DiVA, id: diva2:660166
Available from: 2013-10-29 Created: 2013-10-29 Last updated: 2018-05-12Bibliographically approved

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Messner, Martin

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
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  • vancouver
  • Other style
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Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
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  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
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Output format
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