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Book part
Publication date: 10 August 2016

Kazuhiro Asakawa and Tomomine Aoki

We investigate the extent to which headquarters’ perceived knowledge about overseas R&D subsidiaries influences the level of control over them. We confirm that…

Abstract

We investigate the extent to which headquarters’ perceived knowledge about overseas R&D subsidiaries influences the level of control over them. We confirm that headquarters’ knowledge about its overseas R&D subsidiaries lowers the level of control over them. Surprisingly, however, granting legitimacy to R&D subsidiaries does not necessarily lead to a reduction in headquarters’ control. In addition, R&D subsidiaries’ legitimacy does not influence the effect of headquarters’ knowledge about them on the level of control. Although headquarters’ knowledge about R&D subsidiaries tends to grant them legitimacy, the effect of that legitimacy seems rather minimal. These findings imply that headquarters are reassured when it reduces its control over the subsidiaries based on updated knowledge about their current situations rather than on an already-established positive image of those subsidiaries.

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Perspectives on Headquarters-subsidiary Relationships in the Contemporary MNC
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78635-370-2

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Book part
Publication date: 28 September 2020

Paula van Veen-Dirks and Anneke Giliam

Purpose – This study focuses on the relationship between local governments and public sector joint ventures (JVs). Public sector JVs are separate administrative entities…

Abstract

Purpose – This study focuses on the relationship between local governments and public sector joint ventures (JVs). Public sector JVs are separate administrative entities that undertake public service activities on behalf of local governments. The aim of this study is to examine the vertical management control packages that are used by local governments to control the relationship with their public sector JVs.

Design/methodology/approach – Two case studies have been conducted in two public sector JVs, owned jointly by more than 20 local governments. The analysis of the two cases is informed by an integrated conceptual framework describing how transactional and relational factors influence control, trust, and risk in the context of public sector JVs.

Findings – The case studies provide a nuanced understanding of the interplay between the vertical management control packages, trust between the parents and the public sector JVs, and risks as perceived by the local governments. The case findings not only reveal how local governments struggle with adequate outcome control but also highlight how and why they rely on behavioral control. A related finding is that while the probability of poor business performance does not have a significant impact on the design of the vertical control packages, the social impact of failure has the potential to create a sense of urgency with regard to changes in the design of vertical management control packages.

Originality/value – This study adds to the literature on interorganizational relationships by providing insight into the use of vertical management control packages in the specific, but relevant, setting of public sector JVs.

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Article
Publication date: 3 June 2019

Josette Caruana and Kimberly Zammit

The purpose of this paper is to analyse the relationship between control by the Maltese Central Government on Local Government and the format and basis of budgetary and…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to analyse the relationship between control by the Maltese Central Government on Local Government and the format and basis of budgetary and financial reporting used. The study analyses the role of reporting in agency and fiscal federalism theories.

Design/methodology/approach

Semi-structured interviews were carried out with the controller (Central Government officials and the National Audit Office), while a survey was carried out with the controlled (Maltese Local Councils).

Findings

The type of reporting used by Maltese Local Councils may be undermining the control that Central Government seeks to exercise on overspending and debt levels. The Local Councils’ financial statements report accrual deficits and increasing liabilities. This overspending appears to slip through Parliamentary scrutiny because the latter approves cash allocations to Local Councils; the financial reports submitted to Parliament do not highlight overspending in cash terms; and the cash budget execution report that should be prepared by Local Councils is not given due importance.

Originality/value

Central Government should be consistent in its policy towards Local Government, which may require more elaborate reporting. This study highlights the importance of aligning the reporting required (top-down) and the reporting presented (bottom-up) – otherwise, control is at stake.

Details

Journal of Public Budgeting, Accounting & Financial Management, vol. 31 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1096-3367

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Article
Publication date: 6 November 2017

Laurence Ferry and Thomas Ahrens

Within the context of recent post-localism developments in the English local government, this paper aims to show, first, how management controls have become more enabling…

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Abstract

Purpose

Within the context of recent post-localism developments in the English local government, this paper aims to show, first, how management controls have become more enabling in response to changes in rules of public sector corporate governance and, secondly, how changes in management control systems gave rise to new corporate governance practices.

Design/methodology/approach

Theoretically, the paper mobilises the concept of enabling control to reflect on contemporary changes in public sector corporate governance. It draws on the International Federation of Accountants’ (IFAC) and Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy’s (CIPFA) new public sector governance and management control system model and data gathered from a longitudinal qualitative field study of a local authority in North East England. The field study used interviews, observation and documentation review.

Findings

This paper suggests specific ways in which the decentralisation of policymaking and performance measurement in a local authority (present case) gave rise to enabling corporate governance and how corporate governance and management control practices went some way to aid in the pursuit of the public interest. In particular, it shows that the management control system can be designed at the operational level to be enabling. The significance of global transparency for supporting corporate governance practices around public interest is observed. This paper reaffirms that accountability is but one element of public sector corporate governance. Rather, public sector corporate governance also pursues integrity, openness, defining outcomes, determining interventions, leadership and capacity and risk and performance management.

Practical implications

Insights into uses of such enabling practices in public sector corporate governance are relevant for many countries in which public sector funding has been cut, especially since the 2007/2008 global financial crisis.

Originality/value

This paper introduces the concept of enabling control into the public sector corporate governance and control debate by fleshing out the categories of public sector corporate governance and management control suggested recently by IFAC and CIPFA drawing on observed practices of a local government entity.

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Journal of Accounting & Organizational Change, vol. 13 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1832-5912

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Article
Publication date: 14 December 2017

Julia Kornacker, Rouven Trapp and Katharina Ander

The purpose of this paper is to advance the understanding of the “globalisation” of management control systems (MCSs) by investigating whether and why budget control

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1013

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to advance the understanding of the “globalisation” of management control systems (MCSs) by investigating whether and why budget control structures established in German headquarters (HQs) are transferred to their Chinese subsidiaries and whether and why these structures are (not) used as intended by the HQs.

Design/methodology/approach

The research is based on a field study comprising 23 multinational companies (MNCs). Following a dyadic research design, representatives of the German HQs and Chinese subsidiaries were interviewed. Data were collected during 58 semi-structured interviews with 78 management accountants and managers. Based on cross-case analyses, commonalities and differences were identified that provide insights into contextual influences that shape the way, in which global MCSs are de facto used at the subsidiary level.

Findings

The study provides evidence for different receptions at the subsidiary level. While the budget control structures established in the German HQs guide managerial decision-making in some cases, they get modified or even rejected in others. The findings suggest that these receptions are particularly contingent on the perceived utility of budget control structures among the locals, which is interrelated with the perceived predictability of future developments. In particular, the findings suggest that HQs may impact the paths of travel, given that an ex ante adjustment of global budget control structures may reinforce the reproduction of practices at the local level. The decision to adjust the structures is contingent on organisational characteristics.

Research limitations/implications

The paper encourages further research on the contextual influences that impact how MCSs established at the HQ level are used at the subsidiary level. The paper focuses primarily on environmental peculiarities, which are potentially less important for management control devices other than budget control. Thus, the generalisability of the findings of this paper to other management control devices may be limited.

Practical implications

The findings suggest that MNCs should consider how foreign employees receive global MCSs established at the HQ level and take the locals’ perception of the utility of structures into account. Adjusting global structures without undermining them may reinforce their reproduction at the local level.

Originality/value

Based on a field study approach, the paper provides the first cross-case analysis that sheds light on the contextual influences on the ways, in which global budget control structures are used in foreign subsidiaries. Moreover, the simultaneous consideration of the HQ and subsidiary levels allows for an exploration of the complex interplay between actions and perceptions at the different levels. Eventually, the paper provides first evidence on the globalisation of management control structures within a setting with considerable economic, political and cultural disparities. The paper encourages and serves as a point of departure for further research culminating in a framework comprising important drivers of the globalisation of MCSs at different levels (e.g. environmental, organisational, individual).

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Qualitative Research in Accounting & Management, vol. 15 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1176-6093

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Article
Publication date: 29 July 2019

June Borge Doornich, Katarina Kaarbøe and Anatoli Bourmistrov

This paper aims to explore how changes in the coercive and enabling orientations of the organizational rule system influence the attention managers pay to rules.

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to explore how changes in the coercive and enabling orientations of the organizational rule system influence the attention managers pay to rules.

Design/methodology/approach

The findings of a case study covering a multinational energy company, which are interpreted based on insights from the coercive/enabling bureaucracy literature and the evolution of rules literature, help explain how rules can direct attention.

Findings

The findings suggest that the tensions between corporate management’s intentions for an organization’s rule system and the attention middle (country) managers pay to those rules were the main driver of dialectic changes in the rule system. The more coercive the rule system became, the more middle managers diverted their attention away from rule compliance. The paper shows how the dialect change process constituted a dynamic interaction between mindful “rule setters” and mindful “rule followers.” The alignment between intentions and attention was reestablished by better balancing the coercive and enabling orientations of the rule system: enabling better flexibility, enhancing internal transparency based on local business logic and improving global transparency through closer alignment of local and global growth and efficiency goals. Surprisingly, the repair characteristic was not as important.

Originality/value

The findings contribute to the literature by showing how the enabling and coercive characteristics of an organizational rule system constitute managerial attention artifacts. The paper demonstrates how tensions between corporate intentions and local contingencies in the context of global organizations can lead to constrictive change and create a win-win situation for both central and local actors by better balancing the coercive and enabling orientations of the rule system. It also offers new insights into the dialectic change process in an organization’s rule system based on attention view toward organizational rules.

Details

Qualitative Research in Accounting & Management, vol. 16 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1176-6093

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Article
Publication date: 13 May 2020

Ester Gras-Gil, María del Rocío Moreno-Enguix and Joaquín Henández-Fernández

The presence of women is lower than that of men in positions of responsibility in economic management in public administration, although there has been a more significant…

Abstract

Purpose

The presence of women is lower than that of men in positions of responsibility in economic management in public administration, although there has been a more significant increase in local administration. The purpose of this study is to determine whether the application and development of the internal control system in local governments improves through the presence of women in positions of management and responsibility in these institutions.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors use a multivariate model that allows them to verify the predictive capability of their previously defined explanatory variable gender in 1,527 Spanish local governments. They analyze the empirical relation between the gender and internal control system by multivariate regression models.

Findings

The authors find that the presence of women in management positions in local governments affects internal control system influences as well as a series of financial and non-financial variables. They conclude that in local governments of more than 50,000 inhabitants, the presence of women in the management has a positive influence on internal control systems and also promotes transparency and a more effective fight against corruption, thus enhancing internal control systems.

Research limitations/implications

The presence of women in positions of management and responsibility in local government will favor a decrease of corruption in local governments and increase their efficiency and transparency. This study can facilitate women’s access to positions of more economic and financial responsibility in public administration, as well as improve the management and efficiency in these institutions.

Originality/value

This research is novel in that it determines whether the application and development of the internal control system in local governments improves through the presence of women in the position of management and responsibility in these institutions.

Details

Gender in Management: An International Journal , vol. 35 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1754-2413

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Article
Publication date: 31 January 2011

Johan A.M. de Kruijf

This paper aims to address the possibilities for (performance‐based) control of externally autonomised (empowered) entities which operate at the level of local government…

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1129

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to address the possibilities for (performance‐based) control of externally autonomised (empowered) entities which operate at the level of local government in The Netherlands. The idea is that Dutch regulations do not cover controlling all institutional structures, which might result in unobserved risks for local governments.

Design/methodology/approach

Two basic methods are used: a literature study on the variety of institutional structures meant to design an overview. This is completed by a secondary research approach on the findings of 34 local audit offices that have studied the problem for their local government.

Findings

In The Netherlands, there is no all‐encompassing framework to cover control of autonomised entities at the local level. The most important problems to be solved are related to the specification of services to be delivered by local governments and the role conflict emerging from being owner/financial stakeholder in the organisation, on the one hand, and commissioner for the services of the organisation, on the other. This holds for almost all cases. The problem is even stronger in those cases where autonomised entities operate under a national framework for delivering services that have to fit in with local planning and control systems.

Originality/value

The analysis draws attention to the organisations not included in the standard regulatory framework of local governments; and contributes to the awareness of different roles of local government, being both commissioner and owner/financial stakeholder.

Details

International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management, vol. 60 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1741-0401

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Article
Publication date: 25 September 2007

Richard I.C. Tambulasi

This paper seeks to examine the impacts of the new public management (NPM)‐oriented management accounting on political control at the Malawian local government level. The…

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1351

Abstract

Purpose

This paper seeks to examine the impacts of the new public management (NPM)‐oriented management accounting on political control at the Malawian local government level. The objective is to investigate the extent to which NPM‐based management accounting practices have increased managerial autonomy and reduced political control.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper is based on an empirical study conducted in six local government assemblies in Malawi. These include Salima Town Assembly, Blantyre City Assembly, Lilongwe City Assembly, Mzuzu City Assembly, Mzimba District Assembly, and Zomba Municipal Assembly. It is based on qualitative research methodology. The qualitative data were mainly collected through personal interviews with assembly managers and councillors. In addition, the study also relied on a review of various literature and newspaper articles providing insights to the subject under study.

Findings

The paper has found that the NPM‐based management accounting has led to loss of local political control. In this regard, politicians resort to unproductive behaviors which include interference, sabotage and corruption to regain their lost political control. On the other hand, the administrators sustain their managererial autonomy through NPM‐based managerial prerogatives, seeking central government intervention and colluding with the councillors in corrupt activities.

Originality/value

The paper is of both theoretical and empirical value. Theoretically, the paper contributes to the management accounting literature by looking at management accounting in the context of new organizational arrangement models. In addition, the paper makes an empirical contribution to the knowledge vacuum of the impacts and applicability of the NPM‐based management systems in developing countries. It provides information and insights for reformers to consider the social, political, and cultural environment of the implementing countries so as to prevent counter‐productive consequences that may present massive negative implications on public policy outcomes.

Details

Journal of Accounting & Organizational Change, vol. 3 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1832-5912

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Article
Publication date: 13 February 2017

Sónia Paula da Silva Nogueira and Susana Margarida Faustino Jorge

The purpose of this paper is to analyse the extent to which the perceived usefulness of financial information for internal decision making is affected by the internal…

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1812

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to analyse the extent to which the perceived usefulness of financial information for internal decision making is affected by the internal control to which that information is subjected.

Design/methodology/approach

The research is positivist and quantitative, based on a cross-sectional analysis developed in the local government context. Data were collected from a survey to decision makers (politicians and chief officials) in charge of the financial area in all Portuguese municipalities. The response rate was approximately 49 per cent, assuring representativeness.

Findings

Regarding the perceived usefulness of financial and budgetary reporting for internal decision making, the results in the paper show that municipalities’ internal users’ attitudes towards using accrual-based financial reporting for decision making is changing. Additionally, internal decision makers consider financial and budgetary information as very useful for decision making, and the different types of internal control applicable to that information as very important. The results also clearly point to the existence of a significant and positive relationship between the internal control (including internal auditing) to which financial and budgetary information is subject, and its perceived usefulness for municipal decision making.

Research limitations/implications

The main limitations of this study are related to the way in which information was collected in order to obtain empirical evidence. The questionnaire, sent by e-mail, despite reaching a wide-range and dispersed population, cannot guarantee the truthfulness and integrity of the responses. Findings might have been affected by the fact that respondents may have been sympathetic to the reforms brought by the Official Local Government Accounting Plan (POCAL). Certainly, politicians linked to the political party that promoted those reforms would be predisposed in this way. Another limitation might concern the fact that new laws and regulations passed after POCAL, might have somehow affected the answers regarding the perceived usefulness of budgetary and financial information for internal decision making, as well as the importance of the internal control to which that information is subject.

Practical implications

The results of this study have important repercussions for the implementation of internal control systems at local government level. Particularly, they highlight the need to develop or improve internal control procedures to ensure budgetary and financial information reliability, which in turn determines its usefulness for decision-making purposes.

Originality/value

This research makes a contribution to the (scarce) literature on the relationship between internal control and the perceived usefulness of financial and budgetary information for decision making, particularly in the local government setting. It adds with further empirical evidence concerning the relationship between these two issues, helping to reinforce previous embryonic research in this field. As to policy making, this research also contributes by calling attention for the need to define the types of internal control financial information must be subject, a critical issue while assuring the usefulness of that information for decision making. This is particular important in current contexts of countries moving towards IPSAS-based financial reporting systems.

Details

Journal of Applied Accounting Research, vol. 18 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0967-5426

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