1 results for Akroyd, Christopher Lorin

  • An empirical study of management controls in product development

    Akroyd, Christopher Lorin (2007)

    Doctoral thesis
    The University of Auckland Library

    Product development is critical for many firms, because in many industries the development of products has become a primary source of competitive advantage. To manage this process many firms use management controls, but the effect of those controls on product development is not clear. Recent research in the product development field suggests that the role of management control is to reduce uncertainty rather than the traditionally-assumed focus of promoting goal congruence, and that organisation members use management controls in an interactive style rather than in the traditionally-assumed diagnostic style. The objective of this thesis is to provide empirical insight into management control practices in product development with particular reference to the interface between organisation members across different functions and hierarchal levels within the organisation. It examines both the role of management controls; either to promote goal congruence or to reduce uncertainty, and the style in which management controls are used; either interactively, diagnostically, to set boundaries, or influence beliefs during the activities that take place during the product development process for different types of product development project. To better understand how this takes place this thesis reports on the boundary objects (i.e. numbers, documents and models) that organisation members use during the product development activities to accomplish management control in practice. Empirical field material was collected during a nine-month intensive longitudinal field study, informed by practice theory (ethnomethodology), which was carried out at a large Australasian multinational company within the consumer foods industry. A participant observation approach was used to collect material from a wide range of sources within the company, including interactions and meetings involving executive managers, functional managers, and product development project teams who were members of the technology, marketing, sales, operations and finance departments. The empirical results indicate that the role of management control changes during the product development process alternating between reducing uncertainty and promoting goal congruence. The style in which management controls are used also differs depending on the stage of the product development process and the nature of the product development projects. Finally, management control was accomplished through the use of different boundary objects for each type of product development project.

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