A conceptual map to assess a functioning Management Control System

A dissertation submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Business Administration


  • Martin Kartomo


Management Control Systems (MCS), Functioning MCS , Strategies Real-world tensions , Explorative behavior , Exploitative performances, Organizational leaders , Paradoxical MCS problem


Assessing a functioning Management Control Systems (MCS) fit for its purpose is the challenge that both academics and practitioners face in a fast-changing academic and real-world environment. Both academics and practitioners are unaware of how to assess a functioning MCS to be considered functional for its purpose. The conceptual map of this dissertation provides research opportunities to investigate, and for practitioners to assess the antecedents, factors, and moderators that produce the ambidextrous performance outcome of a functioning MCS, therefore the opportunity whether the MCS supports the paradoxical execution of ambidextrous strategies balancing opposing, yet co-existing, demands of real-world tensions.

Paradoxically, organizational leaders and their top managers demand explorative behavior of managers while debating exploitative performances with the same managers. Organizational leaders unintentionally challenge the functioning MCS, as they purposely influence the functioning vs. functional interplay with explorative assignments, challenging organizational status quos. In contradiction, organizational leaders ask for an exploitative information flow while they demand an ambidextrous information flow. The same organizational leader asks for a business partner with instrumental skills based on inferred information, meanwhile demanding a business partner with skills to encourage organizational learning capabilities to help navigate the organization among dissipating plains.

Academic MCS theory can be self-contained and disconnected from relevance for practice. From the perspective of effectiveness, MCS has been researched near the functioning versus functional debate. This research’s conceptual map addresses the concern of academic MCS research bridging the rigor of research with the relevance for practice and provides an opportunity to connect academic research with the world of practice as the paradoxical MCS problem is seen as an opportunity.


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