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The use of management controls in different cultural regions : an empirical study of Anglo-Saxon, Germanic and Nordic practices

  • Malmi, Teemu
  • Bedford, David S.
  • Bruehl, Rolf
  • Dergard, Johan
  • Hoozée, Sophie
  • Janschek, Otto
  • Willert, Jeanette
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2022
Ghent University Institutional Archive
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Most cross-cultural studies on management control have compared Anglo-Saxon firms to Asian firms, leaving us with limited understanding of potential variations between developed Western societies. This study addresses differences and similarities in a wide variety of management control practices in Anglo-Saxon (Australia, English Canada), Germanic (Austria, non-Walloon Belgium, Germany) and Nordic firms (Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden). Unique data is collected through structured interviews from 584 strategic business units (SBUs). We find that management control structures in Anglo-Saxon SBUs, relative to those from Germanic and Nordic regions, are more decentralized and participative and place greater emphasis on performance-based pay. Comparing Germanic SBUs to Nordic ones, we find Germanic SBUs to rely more on individual behaviour in performance evaluation, whereas Nordic SBUs rely more on quantitative measures and value alignment in employee selection. We also observe numerous similarities in MC practices between the three cultural regions. The implications of these findings for theory development are outlined.

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