Senior Management Use of Management Control Systems in Large Companies

Jeanette Willert, Poul Israelsen, Carsten Rohde, Thomas Toldbod

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The use of management control systems in large companies remains relatively unexplored. Indeed, only a few studies of senior managers’ use of management control systems consider multiple controls in companies. This paper explores data from a comprehensive survey of the use of management control systems in 120 strategic business units at some of the largest companies in Denmark. The paper identifies how senior management guides and controls their subordinates to meet their companies’ objectives. The presentation and discussion of the results, including citations from executive managers, use Ferreira and Otley’s (2009) conceptual and holistic framework for performance management systems, supplemented by elements of contextual factors and organisational culture. Further, selected researchers’ perceptions of the purpose of using management control systems are related to practitioners’ ideas of the purpose of using such systems. Finally, the paper discusses the usability of the 12 questions in Ferreira and Otley’s framework for exploring empirical survey data.
Original languageEnglish
JournalCorporate Ownership and Control
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)58-76
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Management control systems
  • Large companies
  • Denmark

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