Title: Management control systems in Finnish technology companies: search for a typology of MCS mix

Authors: Erkki K. Laitinen, Tom Wingren, William A. Nixon

Addresses: University of Vaasa, Finland. ' Strategic Management Accounting Research Unit, University of Vaasa, Finland. ' University of Dundee, Dundee DD1 4HN, UK

Abstract: The purpose of the paper is to search for a typology of management control system mix (MCSM) in 110 Finnish technology firms. MCSM is considered as a portfolio of management control mechanisms. In a MCSM, single systems are implemented and changed as a package. Instead of analysing such single systems, this paper is focused on a mix (package) of such systems that forms a more natural entity of controls. These MCSMs are assumed different for firms with different organisational characteristics. The paper is organised as follows. First, hypotheses on the relationship between background (organisational) variables and the implementation of and changes in MCSMs are presented. Second, a postal survey of MCSs is performed and responded by 110 firms. Third, the proposed hypotheses are tested for each single MCS by simple statistical tests. Fourth, typologies of MCSM implementation and change are searched by the factor analysis to empirically find out typical combinations of MCSs. Fifth, the extracted hypotheses are tested for the factor scores associated with MCSMs. The analysis showed that there are four basic types of MCSMs for implementation and change. These types are associated with different mixes of MCSs and affected by different organisational variables. The MCSMs for change found by the factor analysis can be classified in the following control packages: value-based management systems (change), performance measurement and improvement systems (change), activity- and process-based management systems (change) and production planning systems (change). For implementation, the third mix was merely entitled as time- and activity-based management system (implementation) while all other MCSMs were similar. Of all the organisational variables, only the size of the organisation proved to be statistically significant for all the types (MCSMs).

Keywords: management control systems; technology companies; change; postal questionnaire; factor analysis; value-based management; production planning; performance measurement; activity-based management; process-based management; time-based management; Finland.

DOI: 10.1504/IJAAPE.2004.004765

International Journal of Accounting, Auditing and Performance Evaluation, 2004 Vol.1 No.2, pp.183 - 214

Available online: 28 Jun 2004 *

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