Business firms are confronted with strategic considerations at both the corporate and business-unit level. In this regard, the management-control system is of major importance. For example, the management-control system is used both to obtain information for strategic planning and to follow up on the implementation of strategic plans. The overall purpose of this dissertation is to describe and explain from a strategic perspective how management control is designed and used in strategic business units. This overall purpose can be subdivided into the three research questions addressed in the three articles which comprise the dissertation.
The first research question concerns the influence of the relationship between corporate and business strategy on the management-control system. The findings of Paper I, an empirical study of 31 Swedish corporate groups with 47 business units, show among other things that environmentally driven business development is encouraged by an activity-sharing strategy at the corporate level, a differentiation strategy at the business-unit level, and integration of management control between the two levels. A more general implication of this finding is that this kind of combination of corporate and business strategy is one with a good fit.
The second research question relates to the effect of different variables of business strategy on the design and use of management control. The variables studied are strategic pattern, strategic mission, and strategic position. The findings of Paper II, a theoretical study with well-known international studies as the starting point, indicate that these variables reflect different dimensions of business-unit strategy and that together they affect the design and use of management control.
The third research question is about the design and use of a particular aspect of management control - performance measurement - at large firms in the Nordic countries, which are often portrayed as forerunners in linking strategy and control. The findings of Paper III, an empirical study of 236 Nordic business units, suggest among other things that there is a good balance between monetary and nonmonetary measures at the firms studied. However, performance measurement appears to be primarily a tool for top management, since it is not very well established at lower organizational levels.
Linköping: Linköpings universitet , 2000. , 22 p.