The Decision-Influencing Use of Performance Measurement Systems in Relationships between Headquarters and Subsidiaries
Posted: 2 Dec 2007
Although theoretical frameworks assume that performance measurement systems (PMS) can be employed for different uses, there is a lack of prior empirical research examining the use of PMS. In addition, recent International Business studies reveal many unresolved issues about the use of PMS to manage relationships between headquarters and subsidiaries. After summarizing the evolution of the use of PMS over three International Business eras, we focus on the decision-influencing use of PMS, operationalized as the influence of the PMS implemented by headquarters on subsidiaries' decisions. Based on International Business literature and Management Accounting research, we hypothesize that the subsidiary participation in PMS design, measurement diversity in PMS structure, the linking of PMS to reward, as well as headquarters' national culture, subsidiary size, and global pressure affect the influence of PMS on subsidiaries' decisions. We collected data through questionnaires emailed to 100 subsidiaries. Findings show that PMS have a greater influence on decisions in cases of higher subsidiary's participation in PMS design, headquarters' cultural tolerance for uncertainty, subsidiary's employees, and global pressure. Contrary to what is contended by advocates of multidimensional approaches to PMS, measurement diversity and the linking of PMS to reward mechanisms do not have a significant impact on the decision-influencing use. We discuss the empirical evidence providing qualitative arguments derived from a focus group, which reveals the existence of a PMS decoupling and helped us to describe four situations with different levels of decision-influencing use of PMS and different economic performance results. The presented quantitative and qualitative empirical evidence offers several insights for research on PMS within multinational companies.
Keywords: Performance measurement systems, Multinational companies, Focus group
JEL Classification: M4
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