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

Conference paper
Authors Teemu Malmi
Christian Ax
David Bedford
Piotr Bednarek
Rolf Bruhl
Johan Dergård
Angelo Ditillo
Andrea Dossi
Maurice Gosselin
Jan Greve
Sophie Hoozee
Poul Israelsen
Otto Janschek
Daniel Johanson
Tobias Johansson
Dag Öivind Madsen
Carsten Rohde
Mikko Sandelin
Torkel Strömsten
Thomas Toldbod
Jeanette Willert
Published in 10th conference on new directions in management accounting, Brussels, Belgium, December 14-16, 2016
ISSN 2295-1717
Publication year 2016
Published at Department of Business Administration, Accounting
Language en
Subject categories Economics and Business, Business Administration


This study addresses cultural differences in management control practices in Anglo-Saxon (Australia, Canada), Germanic (Austria, parts of Belgium, Germany), and Nordic firms (Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden). Unique data is collected by structured interviews from 688 SBUs in these countries. Anglo SBU managers delegate decision rights to their subordinates more extensively than managers do in Germanic and Nordic SBUs. At the same time they establish more multidimensional reporting lines and involve subordinates in crossfunctional tasks in guiding subordinate behavior to a larger extent than their peers in Germanic and Nordic regions. Anglo-Saxon SBUs involve subordinates to strategic planning activities more intensively, but their plans are less comprehensive and specific than those of their counterparts in Germanic and Nordic regions. In performance measurement and evaluation, Anglo-Saxon SBUs perceive compensation as important purpose, whereas Germanic and Nordic SBUs emphasize attention direction and learning. Budgets and performance measurement systems are used interactively to a larger extent by Anglo-Saxon and Germanic compared to Nordic SBUs. Rewards are based on achievement of financial targets more in Anglo than in Germanic SBUs. Reward and compensation in Anglo SBUs is more subjective, individual based and relies also on non-financial rewards to a larger extent than in Germanic and Nordic SBUs. Regarding cultural controls, Anglo SBUs value recruitment within organization more highly than Nordic SBUs and Anglo SBUs use various socialization practices to a larger extent than Germanic and Nordic SBUs do. Implications of these and other findings for both theory development and practice are discussed.

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