Management controls as creative resources in the co-creation of new products

Posted by ARC Commitee - Jun 24, 2022

How do Management Controls (MCs) mediate and stimulate creative co-creation processes like new product development (NPD)?


We address this question in our paper entitled “The Role of Management Controls in New Product Development: Codifying a Collective Source of Creativity” which has recently been published in European Accounting Review.


Drawing on a field study of a German manufacturer undergoing a tremendous restructuring of its NPD process and adopting a knowledge codification perspective, we demonstrate how actors create multiple MCs that open different ‘spaces’ serving distinctive functions, while also being interrelated in the creative co-creation process of NPD.


A ‘core MC’ creates space for recognizing, localizing, and developing new connections between items of knowledge, culminating in a new shared understanding of NPD, i.e., a synthesis


A ‘supplementary MC’ stimulates actions and interactions on the micro-level that can challenge existing knowledge structures and cause-and-effect relationships, potentially resulting in the creation of an antithesis.


Therefore, we elaborate on how MCs themselves can serve as a collective resource of creativity.


Additionally, we add to the debate concerning the aspects determining the assessment of controls as enabling, arguing that the design characteristics of a single MC do not determine its enabling assessment, but rather it is the dynamic material nexus that MCs form and their fluid interplay that determine their assessment.


Finally, our insights allow us to contribute to the relational view on knowledge objects such as MCs by evidencing a transition of an epistemic into a technical object caused by mutual interaction.



This blog is based on this paper:
Strauss, E., Malz, S., and Weber, J. (2022), “The Role of Management Controls in New Product Development: Codifying a Collective Source of Creativity”, DOI: 10.1080/09638180.2022.2082994

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