The Roles of Management Control: Lessons from the Apollo Program

Posted: 9 Mar 2023

See all articles by Basil P. Tucker

Basil P. Tucker

University of South Australia

Hank C. Alewine

University of Alabama in Huntsville - College of Business Administration

Date Written: October 3, 2022

Abstract

The management control information used in decision-making comports with one of the two generally accepted roles—to monitor and evaluate employees to conform their behavior to achieving organizational goals (decision-influencing role), or to reduce decision uncertainty (decision-facilitating role). However, the ways in which these two roles may combine concurrently has received limited empirical attention. Thus, in this case study, archival data and evidence from 30 interviews with space sector experts are employed to evaluate how the two roles assumed by management control contributed—both individually and jointly—to the achievements of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Apollo program. The analysis leads to a proposed 2×2 matrix that better characterizes the roles which could be assumed by management control in decision settings. This study extends the management control literature by presenting an additionally nuanced picture of these roles, as well as the subsequent consequences that arise from their combinations. Its findings provide insight for management control development and application.

Keywords: management control, formal control, space accounting, spaceflight, Apollo program, qualitative method

Suggested Citation

Tucker, Basil P. and Alewine, Hank C., The Roles of Management Control: Lessons from the Apollo Program (October 3, 2022). Contemporary Accounting Research, Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4237800

Basil P. Tucker (Contact Author)

University of South Australia ( email )

37-44 North Terrace
Adelaide SA 5000, South Australia 5001
Australia

Hank C. Alewine

University of Alabama in Huntsville - College of Business Administration ( email )

Huntsville, AL 35899
United States

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