The Effect of Systems of Management Controls on Misreporting

by Aishwarrya Deore, Susanna Gallani, and Ranjani Krishnan

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This study provides insights for designing effective management control systems. Managers must select their individual management control practices with care, craft mission statements to convey clear messages that drive organizational alignment with the firm’s overall goals, and consider the effects of interaction between components of their system of controls.

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Author Abstract

  • Organizations use systems of controls to encourage goal congruent employee behavior. Some control instruments within the system (e.g., cultural controls) guide employees and align their behavioral choices with organizational values, while other instruments (e.g., budgetary controls) facilitate resource allocation in the presence of asymmetric information. We explore how a system of controls comprising of cultural controls (i.e., mission statements) and budgetary controls influence budgetary misreporting. Experimental results indicate that a mission statement that emphasizes integrity results in lower misreporting when combined with budgetary controls that assume self-interested managers relative to its combination with budgetary controls that assume honest managers. Mission statements that emphasize financial performance do not reduce misreporting when combined with either type of budgetary controls. Organizational stewardship partially mediates the effect of systems of controls on misreporting. Our study contributes to the literature on systems of controls by providing evidence that certain combinations of control instruments are more effective than others in achieving important organizational objectives such as reducing budgetary misreporting.

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