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The role of the balanced scorecard in the formulation and control of strategic processes

Gérald Naro (Institut des Sciences de l’Entreprise et du Management, University of Montpellier, Montpellier, France)
Denis Travaillé (Institut d’Administration des Entreprises, University of Montpellier, Montpellier, France)

Journal of Applied Accounting Research

ISSN: 0967-5426

Article publication date: 22 November 2011



The aim of this paper is to confront the Balanced Scorecard (BSC) with Simons’ levers of control model and to discuss its role in the various phases of the strategic process. The authors examine the role of the BSC as a tool of interactive and diagnostic control by making a distinction between its design phase and its phase of use.


An action research approach, based on two cases, was used to investigate the role of the balanced scorecard in strategic processes.


The results show that the BSC generates a process of collective elucidation favouring the forming of emergent strategies and a process of control of the change favouring the collective representations on the strategy. The BSC thus seems to be a relevant tool for interactive control during its implementation stage. On the other hand, the authors’ observations also show the failure of the BSC as a system of diagnostic control and of interactive control during its using stage. Ultimately, it is shown that the model of Simons provides the BSC with a relevant theoretical framework to clarify the practice of strategic control.

Research limitations/implications

The study highlights the interest of field studies, and more particularly, processuals and longitudinal approaches, in management accounting research.

Practical implications

The study of two cases underlines the strategic contribution of the BSC by highlighting its role in building a strategy.


The field study allows us to observe how the design of a management control tool such as the BSC occurs during the strategy‐forming phase.



Naro, G. and Travaillé, D. (2011), "The role of the balanced scorecard in the formulation and control of strategic processes", Journal of Applied Accounting Research, Vol. 12 No. 3, pp. 212-233.



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