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Management control systems and the strategic management of innovation

Sharlene Sheetal Narayan Biswas (Department of Accounting and Finance, The University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand)
Chris Akroyd (Department of Accounting and Information Systems, University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand)

Qualitative Research in Accounting & Management

ISSN: 1176-6093

Article publication date: 14 February 2022

Issue publication date: 21 October 2022




This paper aims to understand the strategic management of innovation by examining the effect that management control systems (MCS) have on innovation activities during the strategic change process.


A case study was carried out at an innovative company as they undertook a strategic change from closed innovation to open innovation. Simons’ levers of control was used to frame the ways in which MCS were designed and used by managers and the effect MCS have on the innovation activities of organization members.


The findings indicate that while managers designed and used MCS to support a drive toward open innovation, organization members did not change their innovation activities. Instead, the findings show that new MCS enabled improvements to their closed innovation strategy. This led to a decrease in the time taken to develop new products, which resulted in increased customer satisfaction, which contributed to the achievement of organizational goals.


By focusing on the relationship between MCS and innovation activities in the strategic change process, the paper sheds new light on the ability of MCS to change the innovation activities of organization members. Even though the innovation activities at our case company did not change the interactions between the MCS enabled organizational goals to be achieved as they provided the necessary information infrastructure and motivated goal congruence.



The authors would like to thank everyone in the Technology Department at Healthcare who were extremely generous with their time and supported this research. The authors also express their appreciation to participants at the 2021 NZMA Conference for their comments. Finally, the authors would like to thank the Editor Professor Ahrens and the anonymous reviewers for their constructive feedback, guidance and support. The review process and your comments have helped to substantially improve the paper.


Biswas, S.S.N. and Akroyd, C. (2022), "Management control systems and the strategic management of innovation", Qualitative Research in Accounting & Management, Vol. 19 No. 5, pp. 513-539.



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