Productivity Improvement and Multiple Management Controls: Evidence from a Manufacturing Firm

Michael Güldenpfennig, Kim Sundtoft Hald*, Allan Hansen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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Purpose: The present paper explores the multiple management control systems (MCSs) involved in productivity improvement (PI) in manufacturing and how they interrelate. Research has largely neglected the multiplicity and interrelationships of these MCSs.
Design/methodology/approach: Drawing on an abductive case study approach, the authors collected empirical data from a global automotive supplier that produces complex systems for passenger cars. Recent PI activities are analysed to identify and explain the interrelationships among the multiple MCSs affecting these activities.
Findings: The study shows how a broad range of MCSs are involved in PI. The study identifies and explores both complementary and conflicting relationships among the MCSs and demonstrates how managers rely on a set of mechanisms to alleviate tensions and strengthen complementarities among these MCSs.
Research limitations/implications: As this paper is based on a single case study, future research can contribute further generalisations (analytical and statistical) with respect to the MCSs involved in PI, how they are interrelated and which mechanisms managers use to manage their interrelationships.
Practical implications: Managers seeking to control and improve productivity should consider the complete control package and its interrelationships instead of focussing on each MCS separately.
Originality/value: The present paper contributes to the knowledge of the multiplicity and interrelationships of MCSs involved in PI and the type of managerial work required to manage their interrelationships.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Operations and Production Management
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)991-1017
Number of pages27
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Epub ahead of print. Published online: 7 May 2021.


  • Management control systems
  • Productivity
  • Manufacturing

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