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Management control systems as a battleground between competing ideologies

February 6 @ 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm

Speaker(s): Dr Emer Curtis

Affiliation: Performance Management

Organised by: Whitaker Institute

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Prior literature has shown that MCS play an active role in the expression of organisational values and has argued for the exploration of the interplay between organisational ideology and management control systems. Building on these studies, we argue little is known about the role and use of formal control systems in the context of organisations where there are multiple and competing ideologies. Thus the objective of this study is explore the role and use MCSs in the context of competing sets of ideologies and values.

We conduct an in-depth case study of a local government in France where, a socialist and green party coalition replaced a communist administration, which had been in power for in excess of 20 years. The new administration layered a comprehensive set of new control practices on top of existing MCSs. We found that these new practices developed into a battleground, as competing political groups sought to use the new systems as a conduit to express their distinctive values and ideologies, and thereby to influence the allocation of resources in accordance with their political ideology. We extend existing understandings of the interplay between clan ideologies and MCS and contribute to the literature by examining the the construction and reconstruction of architecture of the package of controls around the ideologies of influential political groups.


This is one of a series of seminars in the Whitaker Ideas Forum. Emer will be representing the Performance Management cluster.