Recent theoretical and empirical work indicates that management control systems (MCS) are an important element in enhancing innovation. We extend this research thrust examining the adoption of MCS in product development, arguably one of the business processes where innovation plays a major role. Using a sample of 69 early-stage entrepreneurial companies, data are collected from questionnaires and interviews with each of the CEO, financial officer, and business development managers pertaining to product development MCS. We examine seven different systems: project milestones, reports comparing actual progress to plan, budget for development projects, project selection process, product portfolio roadmap, product concept testing process, and project team composition guidelines. We address three distinct questions: (1) What are the reasons-for-adoption of these systems? The nature of our sample allows us to trace back to the adoption point and develop a set of reasons-for-adoption from the analysis of the data. While MCS fulfill certain roles as described in the literature, these reasons-for-adoption are distinct from these roles. Results indicate that certain events lead managers to adopt these systems and address the challenges that they face. They include contracting and legitimizing the process with external parties and internal reasons-for-adoption such as managers’ background, learning by doing, need to focus the organization, or reaction to problems. (2) Are these reasons-for-adoption associated with differences across companies in the time from their founding date until these systems are adopted (time-to-adoption)? Prior research has looked at the covariance of various organizational variables with this timing; this study goes a step further by looking at the effect of different reasons-for-adoption on this timing. Our evidence finds an association between these two variables. (3) Are these reasons-for-adoption relevant to performance? We find that the reason-for-adoption is associated with the on-time dimension of product development performance.
Accounting, Organizations and Society – Elsevier
Published: Apr 1, 2009
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