Configurations of control in product development

Lucia Bellora-Bienengräber (Department for Business, Economics and Social Sciences, University of Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany)

Journal of Accounting & Organizational Change

ISSN: 1832-5912

Publication date: 3 April 2019



The purpose of this paper is to explore how the emphases given to the levers of control when monitoring product development (PD) are combined with each other, with the type of PD strategy formation and with the degree of innovativeness experienced by the firm. Moreover, the paper aims at identifying those configurations that are equifinal and superior to others in terms of PD and organizational performance.


Data (n = 468) are collected through a structure written questionnaire and analyzed through cluster analysis. Robustness tests investigate the stability of the results across different cluster method choices.


The paper unravels three configurations: A framing firms cluster, a fatalist firms cluster and a meticulous firms cluster. The first and the third cluster outperform the second cluster in terms of performance.

Research limitations/implications

Limitations of the paper relate to the possible response bias, the measurement of the variables, the subjectivity in cluster method choices and the static and non-causal nature of results. Future studies are called to validate the findings.

Practical implications

Firms with a partially intended and partially emergent PD strategy formation process and high innovativeness should place high emphasis to the PD beliefs and boundary systems. Firms with a prevailing intended PD strategy formation and a medium innovativeness should emphasize diagnostic and interactive control systems for PD.


In contrast to previous studies, this paper addresses the peculiarities of one specific control problem, i.e. the conflicting control demands that management has to address in PD.



Bellora-Bienengräber, L. (2019), "Configurations of control in product development", Journal of Accounting & Organizational Change, Vol. 15 No. 1, pp. 127-146.

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