Big Data Analytics: How Does It Impact Management Control? A Case Study on Employee Behaviour in a Manufacturing Environment

Sjoerd P. D. Kleuskens & Simon Larcher

Student thesis: Master thesis


Purpose - The purpose of this research paper is to investigate how the fast-paced rise of Big Data Analytics (BDA) affects management control. In particular, it tries to find out how the fundamental problems of economic organisation – coordination and motivation – are influenced by the ever-in-creasing amount of data possibilities. Special attention is directed towards the role of the organisational architecture and how it can facilitate the use of BDA in the area of management control.

Design - The research method chosen to investigate the topic is a case study conducted in a manufac-turing context, while semi-structured interviews and inside knowledge serve as the data sources.

Findings - Multiple positive and negative implications that the application of BDA has on manage-ment control are detected, both on a coordination as well as a motivation level. Notable is that the drawbacks of BDA are inhibiting the exploitation of the benefits but are not impossible to be overcome using the right treatment. The utilisation of BDA creates possibilities to make more efficient use of specific knowledge in lower levels of the organisation, but performance measurement issues need to be dealt with appropriately in order to keep the agency costs of decentralisation in check.

Value - This paper adds to extant research by providing practical evidence on how BDA is affecting management control in an actual business environment. In doing so, it adopts a functional approach that focuses on data utilisation rather than taking the more conventional technical solutions approach focusing on data provision.

EducationsMSc in Accounting, Strategy and Control, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2020
Number of pages226
SupervisorsIvar Friis