Designing Management Control Systems in Product Development: Initial Choices and the Influence of Partners
43 Pages Posted: 12 Jan 2006 Last revised: 8 Sep 2008
Date Written: July 2005
Management control systems can hinder innovation. However, recent theoretical and empirical work indicates that they can also enhance it. In this paper, this question is investigated using two sequential empirical studies. In the first, a field research design is used to examine the adoption of management control systems in the product development function of entrepreneurial firms. The data are obtained from questionnaires and interviews with the CEOs, financial officers, and business development managers of 69 firms. Analysis of the qualitative data indicates that managers adopt management control systems not so much to fulfill a particular role as to solve particular needs that they face. These needs range from external contracting and legitimizing the process with external parties to internal drivers such as managers' background, learning by doing, need to focus, or reaction to problems. Furthermore, these reasons are associated with faster adoption of management control systems and with product development performance. The objective of the second study is to extend and generalize the finding regarding the influence of external parties on management control system adoption to a population of mature firms. Using a survey design, the study finds an association between the importance of partners to product development and the level of formalization of management control systems.
Keywords: management control systems, product development, innovation
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