Management control systems in research and development organizations: The role of accounting, behavior and personnel controls

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This paper reports the result of an empirical study examining the role of accounting and non-accounting controls in a research and development setting. The paper draws on Perrow's model of technology and structure to explore the influence of task characteristics on the effectiveness of accounting, behavior and personnel forms of control (Perrow, 1970). The main contribution of the study is the finding that non-accounting controls, especially personnel forms of control, contribute to organization effectiveness, particularly where task characteristics are not well suited to the use of accounting-based controls. In addition, the results suggest that of the two task dimensions examined, task analyzability and number of exceptions, the latter proves to have the more significant influence on the suitability of the controls. "Programmed" types of controls (such as either accounting or behavior controls) appear unsuitable where number of exceptions is high. © 1997 Elsevier Science Ltd.

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  • Abernethy M.A.

  • Brownell P.

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