Kent Marshall; Mikael Snygg , pp. 125. MAM/Sektionen för Management, 2004.
Studying the relationship between strategy and Management Control Systems (MCS) is not a new phenomenon. The main purpose with the MCS has long been to attain the strategic goals that have been set for the organisation. Scholars have therefore argued that MCS should be adapted in harmony to the strategy employed by the company. There exists however little empirical evidence to support this claim.
Recent studies shows that the largest problem companies’ face today is that their MCS doesn’t focus enough on the organisations’ critical success factors. This made us question whether companies choose MCS that support their strategy. This study focuses on Management Control Measures (MCM) as one dimension of the companies’ total MCS and on the companies’ business strategy.
The purpose was to investigate whether companies’ choose MCM that support the companies’ employed business strategy. Since measuring strategy and MCM at one point of time may result in that some companies may be in an adaptation phase of either strategy or MCS, where the MCS or MCM doesn’t support the business strategy. We were therefore also interested in investigating if the lack of adaptation between the companies’ MCM and their business strategy could be explained by changes in business strategy and/or MCM over the past two to three years.
A further developed strategy typology based on Porter’s typology was used to classify the studied organisation’s business strategy. Cluster analysis was used to create categories (taxonomy) for the companies’ use for MCM. Effectiveness of different combinations of business strategy and MCM group were measured to determine if companies chose MCM that support their employed business strategy.
The general conclusion is that companies choose MCM that support their employed business strategy. The study shows that a Traditional use of MCM best supports the Cost leader strategy. Among the differentiation strategies an Intense use of MCM is the most effective use of MCM. The second conclusion is that we can’t explain the lack of adaptation between the companies’ MCM and their business strategy by changes in their business strategy and/or MCM over the past two to three years.