The recording is available here.
Date: Nov 7th, 2023
Time: 3.30 pm CET
Mediator: Professor Martin Messner
Speaker (s) Professor Christine Cooper & Professor Chris Chapman
The overarching purpose of management control is to help organisations achieve their objectives. The nature of those objectives, and so the implications for how management control might be pursued, change over time, however. For example, widespread concern of how control systems had developed in Anglo-American contexts in the early 1980s crystalised in “Relevance lost” not least, leading to significant debate about the ongoing suitability of control practices that had become established practice. The following decade saw a raft of innovations in control practice (e.g., ABC, Balanced Scorecard, EVA, Strategic Cost Management) seeking to introduce a greater sense of how external concerns might be brought into internal control processes and decision – often focused on the concept of strategy. At the same time, a different stream of research sought to show the importance of understanding the implications of (often implicit) assumptions baked into such control approaches (e.g., highlighting the role of control systems in perpetuating class inequalities, discrimination, exploitation, and fear, and challenging the role of such systems in commensurating aspects of our lived world beyond the conception of shareholder value).
Turning to today, just as in the 1980s, we find ourselves increasingly conscious of the limits of existing approaches to control. Attention is again turning to how control systems can play a role in supporting organisations’ ability to see and respond to challenges beyond their currently established scope. For us as a research community, a challenge in this respect is to avoid fracturing our field into Utopian or Dystopian, or perhaps worse, disinterested camps. Debating what control can or should achieve is essential for the development of our field of study, as well as for enhancing the practical and societal contributions of management control research. Accordingly, this EAA academic empathy conversation will explore questions such as: