The Management Control Portfolio – Set to Handle Our Governance Challenges?

Alf Westelius & Ann-Sofie Westelius (2019) The Management Control Portfolio – Set to Handle Our Governance Challenges? BAM, 3-5 September 2019, Birmingham

We present an ecology view of management control tools and concepts as a way to capture the dynamics in the field and grasp where they come from. In so doing, we propose an alternative way of structuring management control terms into families, according to governance challenges addressed, to provide an overview of the field and facilitate an analysis of the dynamics. We start on such an analysis with both historical examples and attempts at looking forward. The proposed structure does not reveal any clear group of concepts or tools for sustainable management control. Therefore, we draw on a model for human-centred organising to guide the assessment of imbalances and the sustainability of management control packages. Exemplifying with current organisations, we demonstrate that from a narrow organisational perspective, human-centred control is not necessary for success or survival; strict economism can work for a high-profiled company, even if it appears to be detrimental for society. And value-based, trusting, non-monitoring management control also seems to be for particular, high-profiled (and possibly not very large) companies, rather than a realistic mainstream alternative in our mainstream world. We end by identifying plausible trends and future challenges for management control.

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