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Publication - Professor Chris Chapman

    Souplesse et efficience

    Une étude sur le terrain des systèmes de contrôle de gestion d'une chaîne de restauration


    Ahrens, T & Chapman, CS, 2004, ‘Souplesse et efficience: Une étude sur le terrain des systèmes de contrôle de gestion d'une chaîne de restauration’. Contemporary Accounting Research, vol 21., pp. 271-301


    While some field studies have suggested that management control systems can be used simultaneously to make organizations more efficient and more flexible, the contingency literature has found it difficult to address this issue in the absence of a clear and comprehensive typology for analyzing more processual uses of management control systems. This paper distinguishes between enabling and coercive (Adler and Borys 1996) uses of management control systems. Coercive use refers to the stereotypical top-down control approach that emphasizes centralization and preplanning. In contrast, enabling use seeks to put employees in a position to deal directly with the inevitable contingencies in their work. The design principles that underlie the enabling use of management control systems are repair, internal transparency, global transparency, and flexibility. Through a detailed analysis of a single-case field study carried out over a two-year period, we illustrate how management pursued the objectives of efficiency and flexibility by using management control systems in enabling ways. We suggest that the four design principles of enabling use can facilitate field studies of management control systems, but that they can also be used to define an enabling typology for contingency researchers to analyze the ways in which organizations simultaneously pursue efficiency and flexibility through their management control systems.

    Full details in the University publications repository