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In the borderland between strategy and management control: theoretical framework and empirical evidence
Linköping University, Department of Computer and Information Science, EISLAB - Economic Information Systems. Linköping University, The Institute of Technology.
2004 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Strategy and management control are two fields of research that have become increasingly inter-linked. Research in strategy has shown, for instance, that strategies are of no effect unless they permeate the entire organization, and that they become obsolete if not renewed as the business environment changes. Similarly, research in management control has shown that management control loses its relevance if it does not reflect strategy or is not useful in operations. This dissertation considers a number of theoretical approaches to corporate and business strategies and their connection to management control. The reasoning is also examined in light of empirical data collected from major Swedish firms in various industries. One finding is that some combinations of corporate and business strategies and management control are more congruent than other combinations. An additional question discussed in the dissertation is how different types of business strategy could be changed and combined; these possibilities are studied empirically on the basis of data taken from annual reports of Nordic paper and pulp companies. The results show that the nature of business strategy can be changed over time, but that different kinds of business strategies can seldom be combined within the same business unit. Further, the dissertation treats the relationship between different perspectives on business strategies. Another central element of the dissertation is the design and use of performance measurement. On the basis of extensive empirical material from large Nordic firms in a variety of industries, performance measurement at Nordic firms is described, noting differences between countries and between dissimilar business strategies. According to the findings, the Nordic firms used a broad spectrum of measures, which according to theory should be more closely related to strategy than would financial measures alone.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköpings universitet , 2004. , 36 p.
Series
Linköping Studies in Science and Technology. Dissertations, ISSN 0345-7524 ; 910
National Category
Computer Science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-33175Local ID: 19156ISBN: 91-85295-82-5 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-33175DiVA: diva2:253998
Public defence
2004-12-14, Visionen, IDA, Linköpings Universitet, Linköping, 13:15 (Swedish)
Available from: 2009-10-09 Created: 2009-10-09 Last updated: 2013-11-22
List of papers
1. On creating an environmentally driven mode of business development: empirical evidence
Open this publication in new window or tab >>On creating an environmentally driven mode of business development: empirical evidence
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This article presents the findings of an empirical study of 31 large Swedish corporate groups listed on the stock exchange. The purpose of the study was to investigate how strategies, management control systems, and management attitudes influence the possibilities for creating an environmentally driven mode of business development. According to the study, the chances of establishing an environmentally driven mode of business development are substantially better at corporate groups where corporate strategy emphasizes activity sharing and business-unit strategy emphasizes differentiation. The outlook also improves considerably if control is well integrated in the sense that the overall corporate management control system includes information from the environmental management system at the business-unit level. Such integration is easier if the management control system and the environmental management system are similarly designed and used. More, if the mode of business development is to be environmentally drive, corporate and business-unit management should have a favorable attitude toward systematic involvement in environment-related activities.

National Category
Computer Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-36405 (URN)31267 (Local ID)91-85295-82-5 (ISBN)31267 (Archive number)31267 (OAI)
Note

An earlier version of this paper has been presented at The 23rd Annual Conference of the European Accounting Association, Munich, Germany, 29-31 March, 2000

Available from: 2009-10-10 Created: 2009-10-10 Last updated: 2013-11-22
2. On strategy and management control: the importance of classifying the strategy of the business
Open this publication in new window or tab >>On strategy and management control: the importance of classifying the strategy of the business
2000 (English)In: British Journal of Management, ISSN 1045-3172, E-ISSN 1467-8551, Vol. 11, no 3, 197-212 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The point of departure for this paper is a number of contingency-theory studies on the relationship between business strategy and the design and use of management control. In these studies strategy has been operationalized in different ways – a major reason why the findings are ambiguous and difficult to integrate. Thus there is a strong need for a common frame of reference for classifying business strategy. In view of the multifaceted nature of the concept of strategy, however, it is neither desirable nor possible to arrive at a single method of classification that would be appropriate in all situations. Rather, the task is to integrate different strategic variables such as strategic pattern, strategic position and strategic mission. In this paper we show how these three variables may be assumed to influence, and be influenced by, what characterizes changes in strategy and how business units manage their product offerings. Unlike most previous studies in the field, this paper discusses how the strategic variables taken together may be assumed to influence the classification of strategy and thus the design and use of the management-control system. Our deductive analysis, and the hypotheses used in connection with it, show that studies which consider only one strategic variable may lead to erroneous conclusions about the relationship between strategy and management control.

National Category
Computer Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-36536 (URN)10.1111/1467-8551.00161 (DOI)31529 (Local ID)31529 (Archive number)31529 (OAI)
Available from: 2009-10-10 Created: 2009-10-10 Last updated: 2017-12-13
3. Performance measurement at Nordic companies
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Performance measurement at Nordic companies
2000 (English)In: European Management Journal, ISSN 0263-2373, E-ISSN 1873-5681, Vol. 18, no 1, 113-127 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

During the past decade there have been considerable changes in methods of management control. To a considerable degree, these changes are due to growing globalization and stiffening competition. In the face of these new challenges, there has been serious dissatisfaction with traditional methods of management control. In the Nordic countries there has been a particular interest in ways to improve performance measurement, especially the Balanced Scorecard. At present, however, our knowledge about how Nordic companies design and use systems of performance measurement is limited. In view of this situation, a questionnaire-based study was conducted. Performance measurement was examined in the following dimensions: (1) structure; (2) processes; (3) use; and (4) benefits and shortcomings. The use of three well-known models of performance measurement was also studied. Responses to the questionnaire were submitted by 236 business units, which belong to major corporate groups in the Nordic countries. The findings show that performance measurement is relatively well developed in the Nordic countries, and that the benefits are perceived as outweighing the shortcomings.

National Category
Economics and Business
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-87744 (URN)10.1016/S0263-2373(99)00074-2 (DOI)
Available from: 2013-01-22 Created: 2013-01-22 Last updated: 2017-12-06
4. Recent advances in performance management: the Nordic case
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Recent advances in performance management: the Nordic case
2002 (English)In: European Management Journal, ISSN 0263-2373, E-ISSN 1873-5681, Vol. 20, no 3, 235-245 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article presents the findings of an empirical study of 209 firms in the Nordic countries. The purpose of the article is to discuss recent advances in performance management, both for the Nordic Region as a whole and in individual countries. The findings show that the performance management systems of the Nordic firms under study are used both diagnostically and interactively. The two principal applications are in decision support at the top management and the operating levels. Furthermore, in the design of the performance management systems, both financial and nonfinancial measures are quite significant. These tendencies are particularly noticeable at the Danish, Finnish, and Swedish companies. At the Norwegian companies, on the other hand, the design and uses of performance management are somewhat more traditional.

Keyword
Diagnostic use, Interactive use, Scandinavian management, Performance management
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-61121 (URN)10.1016/S0263-2373(02)00039-7 (DOI)
Available from: 2010-11-03 Created: 2010-11-03 Last updated: 2017-12-12
5. Business strategies and performance measurement systems: empirical evidence
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Business strategies and performance measurement systems: empirical evidence
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

In this article, we discuss the fit between business strategy and the performance-measurement system. The types of business strategy treated in the article are cost leadership and differentiation. The performance-measurement system is studied from a standpoint of design (financial and non-financial measures of performance) and use (interactive and diagnostic). Based on the findings of previous studies, a number of hypothetical relationships between business strategy, the design and use of the performance-measurement system, and financial results are formulated. Data were collected by means of a questionnaire sent to 800 business units in Denmark, Finland, Sweden and Norway, with 224 complete responses. The data was analyzed with the aid of cluster analysis. It could not be shown that financial results were affected by the design and use of the performance-measurement system. Furthermore, the relationships between business strategy and performance measurement were not as straightforward as hypothesized. Nevertheless, two clusters of business units have rather clear tendencies in the design and use of their performance-measurement systems. One of them is cost leaders with relatively undeveloped performance-measurement systems. Neither financial nor non-financial measures seem to be important. Interactive use is also limited. The other cluster is comprised of differentiators with a well-developed and complex system of performance measurement. These business units focus to a substantial extent on both financial and non-financial measures. Also in regard to use, all dimensions were generally emphasized in the questionnaire; in other words, both diagnostic and interactive uses are considered important.

National Category
Computer Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-36406 (URN)31268 (Local ID)91-85295-82-5 (ISBN)31268 (Archive number)31268 (OAI)
Note

An earlier version of this paper has been presented at The 19th Nordic Conference on Business Studies, Reykjavik, Iceland, August, 2003

Available from: 2009-10-10 Created: 2009-10-10 Last updated: 2013-01-22
6. Strategic positioning: a study of the Nordic paper and pulp industry
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Strategic positioning: a study of the Nordic paper and pulp industry
2003 (English)In: Strategic Change, ISSN 1086-1718, E-ISSN 1099-1697, Vol. 12, no 6, 329-343 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]
  • Few perspectives in research on strategy have had as great an impact as Porter's (1980, 1985) framework for strategic positioning. The concepts of cost leadership and differentiation have been used both by practitioners in strategic planning and by scholars as the starting point for empirical studies. This widespread use has probably contributed to the high level of interest in the possibilities and limitations of the perspective.

  • In this paper, certain central aspects of strategic positioning are examined empirically. The study covers seven business units in two segments of the paper and pulp industry in the Nordic region over a 10-year period from 1991 to 2000.

  • Among the aspects discussed are the possibility of strategic change and the possibility of combining strategic position. Other aspects treated are the relationship of the intended strategic position, as declared in the annual reports, to the realized strategic position, as shown by the relative positions of the business units compared to their competitor.

  • The findings indicate that strategic positions are stable over time and that none of the business units was able to combine the positions of cost leadership and differentiation for a longer period of time. The results also suggest substantial congruence between the intended strategy and the realized strategy, at the units studied.

National Category
Economics and Business
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-87745 (URN)10.1002/jsc.643 (DOI)
Available from: 2013-01-22 Created: 2013-01-22 Last updated: 2017-12-06

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