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Article
Publication date: 6 March 2017

Joanna Gusc and Paula van Veen-Dirks

Sustainability is one of the newer topics in the accounting courses taught in university teaching programs. The active learning assignment as described in this paper was…

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Abstract

Purpose

Sustainability is one of the newer topics in the accounting courses taught in university teaching programs. The active learning assignment as described in this paper was developed for use in an accounting course in an undergraduate program. The aim was to enhance teaching about sustainability within such a course. The purpose of this paper is to offer experience-based guidance to faculty members around the world who would like to include sustainability in their courses.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper describes the introduction of sustainability in an accounting course via an active learning approach. The assignment that was developed formed part of a management accounting course for 450 business students. In the assignment, the students were asked to propose a sustainable solution for the university organization. Several tools were provided to the students to support them in obtaining an insight into the financial and societal consequences of the proposed solution.

Findings

The encouraging experiences with the assignment at the university where it was designed show that it effectively improved students’ understanding of sustainability issues. Furthermore, the assignment provided insight into how management accounting can play a role in enhancing sustainability in an organization. Additionally, the experiences with the assignment show that it can be used to make courses more lively and attractive to students.

Originality/value

As yet, textbooks have not offered much support in how to incorporate sustainability into the field of accounting. The assignment represents a novel use of management accounting concepts in the study of sustainability and is relevant to educators as an example of an active learning approach on the topic of sustainability.

Details

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, vol. 18 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1467-6370

Keywords

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.

Content available
Book part
Publication date: 28 September 2020

Abstract

Details

Advances in Management Accounting
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-83982-913-0

Book part
Publication date: 4 October 2018

Darja Peljhan, Danijela Miloš Sprčić and Mojca Marc

Our study investigates the relationships between risk management systems (RMS), strategy and organizational performance. The existing research has extensively studied the…

Abstract

Our study investigates the relationships between risk management systems (RMS), strategy and organizational performance. The existing research has extensively studied the effect of strategy on organizational performance. There is also a growing body of literature suggesting that RMS positively influence the achievement of organizational objectives. However, there are only a few conceptual papers (and no empirical evidence) on the relationship between strategy and RMS. We investigate whether different strategy types (defender, analyzer, prospector, and reactor) induce different levels of RMS development and, hence, affect performance indirectly, as well as directly. We use regression analysis and survey data to test the proposed relationships. Our results confirm the direct effects of strategy type and RMS development on performance. We confirm that prospectors perform better than defenders, analyzers, and reactors across five measures of performance (profitability, sales growth, market share, new product development, and customer satisfaction). We also find that companies with more developed RMS perform better in terms of non-financial performance (measured by new product development). Contrary to the prevailing evidence, we do not find significant results for financial performance. Moreover, our findings show that there is no mediating effect of RMS development in the relationship between strategy type and performance. This implies that RMS and strategy act as independent variables, each individually affecting organizational performance.

Details

Performance Measurement and Management Control: The Relevance of Performance Measurement and Management Control Research
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78756-469-5

Keywords

Book part
Publication date: 4 October 2018

Paula M. G. van Veen-Dirks and Anne M. Lillis

This study examines the relationship between the motives for balanced scorecard (BSC) adoption and the development and use of the BSC. We expect that a stronger focus on…

Abstract

This study examines the relationship between the motives for balanced scorecard (BSC) adoption and the development and use of the BSC. We expect that a stronger focus on economic adoption motives is associated with full development of the BSC and its integration into the performance measurement and control systems of the firm. In contrast, we expect that a higher focus on legitimacy as a motive for adoption leads to loose coupling of the BSC with the control systems of the firm. We expect legitimacy as a catalyst to BSC adoption leads to a lower level of BSC development and use, which enables the organization to keep the environment satisfied, but does not influence processes within the organization.

The data are obtained from a web-based survey with 88 useful responses of firms indicating that they use the BSC. The study investigates the relationship between the motives for BSC adoption (economic and legitimacy) and the development and use of the BSC. The results provide evidence for the hypothesis that economic motives for adoption positively affect the development of the BSC. In addition, the results partially support the hypothesis that legitimacy motives negatively affect the use of the BSC. When legitimacy comes via the mechanism of mimetic isomorphism, it has a negative effect on use of the BSC. Surprisingly, however, legitimacy has a positive effect on use when it comes via the mechanism of normative isomorphism.

Details

Performance Measurement and Management Control: The Relevance of Performance Measurement and Management Control Research
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78756-469-5

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 3 July 2017

Hilco J. van Elten

Relative performance evaluation (RPE) is a widely studied topic in the theoretical and analytical accounting and economics literatures. The empirical literature also…

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Abstract

Purpose

Relative performance evaluation (RPE) is a widely studied topic in the theoretical and analytical accounting and economics literatures. The empirical literature also addresses this topic, with its main focus on executive compensation. This paper aims to extend the findings of the literature by assessing the extent to which RPE is used at lower organisational levels.

Design/methodology/approach

This study uses a purpose-developed survey to gather data from 325 business unit managers.

Findings

This study finds that RPE is used to a great extent in the performance evaluation of business unit managers. Additionally, the findings suggest that RPE use increases the informativeness of the performance evaluation through noise reduction. Noise in the performance evaluation is described in literature as the primary antecedent of RPE, but prior research provides only weak empirical support for this claim.

Research limitations/implications

This study hypothesises a causal relation between RPE and noise in performance evaluation. However, the use of cross-sectional survey data only allows testing associations, not causations.

Originality/value

The originality and value of the paper lie in the focus on the business unit level and the use of survey data, which are almost completely absent in this area of research that almost exclusively uses archival data at the executive level.

Details

Accounting Research Journal, vol. 30 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1030-9616

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 25 September 2009

Paula M.G. van Veen‐Dirks and Peter J.A. Verdaasdonk

The purpose of this paper is to show that local management control systems within supply chain organisations and the governance of supply chains are intertwined and that…

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to show that local management control systems within supply chain organisations and the governance of supply chains are intertwined and that local control systems and governance structure have an important effect on the functioning of the supply chain.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper reports on a case study of a supply chain and examines how local management control systems within the participating organisations affect cooperation between the organisations in the supply chain. In the case study, a supply chain, including eight food manufacturers, two logistic service providers, and two retailers, is investigated.

Findings

The behaviour of several entities in the chain is explained by examining the present local management control systems. The main conclusion is that these systems call for behaviour that is not congruent with the broad supply chain objective.

Research limitations/implications

The research is based on a case study in one supply chain that has mainly a cost‐minimisation objective. Further in‐depth studies could be undertaken in supply chains with other objectives to further validate the findings.

Practical implications

The paper demonstrates that the local management control systems may hinder the achievement of the supply chain objective. Possible design implications for both local management control systems and governance structures in the supply chain are outlined.

Originality/value

The paper focuses on local information sharing concerns and on local performance measurement and incentive issues at the intra‐organisational level but within a supply chain context.

Details

Supply Chain Management: An International Journal, vol. 14 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1359-8546

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 21 February 2018

Martijn Pieter van der Steen and Sandra Tillema

The purpose of this paper is to address the impact of a multidivisional structure on the implementation of lean manufacturing. It investigates how the controls employed by…

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to address the impact of a multidivisional structure on the implementation of lean manufacturing. It investigates how the controls employed by the corporate level impact the local implementation of lean manufacturing.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper reports on case studies in three subsidiaries in different multidivisional organisations.

Findings

The paper finds that lean manufacturing can be severely constrained by the accounting-based controls which are commonly in place in a multidivisional structure. Depending on the degree of centralisation, subsidiaries may be restricted to implementing lean tools in a fragmented way, rather than acting according to a coherent set of principles.

Practical implications

Companies may have to accept that being part of a multidivisional organisation can imply that their lean implementation is more gradual and piecemeal than they prefer. The paper proposes several ways to mitigate the constraints that may arise from incompatibilities between accounting-based controls and lean controls.

Originality/value

This study contributes to the literature about external constraints on production innovations, such as lean manufacturing. It highlights how the organisational context creates local conditions that may be detrimental to the implementation of lean manufacturing.

Details

International Journal of Operations & Production Management, vol. 38 no. 11
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-3577

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 17 August 2015

Berend van der Kolk, Henk J. ter Bogt and Paula M.G. van Veen-Dirks

The purpose of this paper is to examine how management control (MC) within governmental departments is used in times of austerity, and how insights from agency and…

1991

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine how management control (MC) within governmental departments is used in times of austerity, and how insights from agency and stewardship theory can enhance the understanding of this issue.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors distinguish two types of MC (constraining and facilitating) based on their different assumptions regarding human behavior (agent-like and steward-like). The authors empirically analyze changes in the use of these types of MC in four cases located in two municipalities. The collected data consists of 51 semi-structured interviews, desk research and multiple field observations.

Findings

The authors find that MC at the departmental level becomes more constraining in times of austerity. The authors suggest that an overemphasis on constraining MC has negative consequences. It can, for instance, evoke agent-like, opportunistic behavior while it disregards potential steward-like behavior. These negative consequences are less prevalent when there is a simultaneous increase in emphasis on the use of facilitating MC elements.

Originality/value

The authors acknowledge “human ambivalence,” i.e. an employee’s recurring choice between agent-like and steward-like behavior, and illustrate the dangers of overly relying on constraining types of MC. The authors also contemplate alternative strategic managerial responses to austerity in a public sector context.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 28 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 9 March 2022

Lies Bouten and Sophie Hoozée

While prior control studies typically focus on organizations with an instrumental approach to corporate sustainability, this study concentrates on organizations with an…

Abstract

Purpose

While prior control studies typically focus on organizations with an instrumental approach to corporate sustainability, this study concentrates on organizations with an integrative approach, as the latter is needed to address the grand challenge of sustainable development. As such organizations do not single out the financial objective as the dominant one, they pursue a hybrid mission. This study investigates how a control package can be designed that ensures the persistence of such a hybrid mission.

Design/methodology/approach

A case study is undertaken at a luxury hotel chain in which a financial and an environmental objective are continuously balanced. Self-determination theory is used to substantiate insights into how psychological need-supportive controls can be designed at all organizational levels.

Findings

This study highlights how controls are not only needed to direct staff behaviour towards the environmental objective but also to ensure that staff at all organizational levels prioritize the objectives in such way that the hybrid mission can be sustained. Besides structural differentiation and centralization of decision-making, the case organization designed need-supportive controls to foster staff's internalization of the environmental objective and value as well as of the integrative approach.

Social implications

As the need-supportive socialization process fostered staff's integration of the environmental value, this study highlights the transformational potential of controls.

Originality/value

This study provides a unique account of a control package directing staff behaviour towards the balancing of multiple objectives.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 35 no. 8
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

Keywords

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