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|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|14606||2010||13 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Management Accounting Research, Volume 21, Issue 4, December 2010, Pages 265–277
The paper explores the adoption of the corporate balanced scorecard (CBSC) and its impact on corporate control of business units. Following interviews with senior corporate managers in 15 of Sweden's largest multinational companies, 8 were found to adopt CBSC. However, CBSC had little impact on control at the corporate level. Corporate control was financially focused in all the companies: mainly financial measures were important, standards were only set for financial measures and rewards were largely based on financial performance measures. Top management's need for simplicity and comparability internally, and capital market pressures motivated the financial focus.
The balanced scorecard (BSC) has received considerable attention since Kaplan and Norton's (1992) first article on this topic. Surveys suggest that BSC is a global success and is widely adopted (Hoque and James, 2000, Kald and Nilsson, 2000, Silk, 1998 and Speckbacher et al., 2003). This is reinforced by case studies on BSC applications in the US, U.K., Finland, Denmark, Sweden, Australia and The Netherlands (Andon et al., 2007, Braam and Nijssen, 2004, Bukh et al., 2000, Kasurinen, 2002, Malina and Selto, 2001, Olve et al., 1999, Olve et al., 2003 and Toumela, 2005). Leading accounting journals such as Accounting, Organizations and Society, The Accounting Review, Journal of Management Accounting Research and Management Accounting Research contain articles on BSC (e.g., Ittner and Larcker, 1998, Ittner et al., 2003, Lipe and Salterio, 2002 and Malmi, 2001) and it is covered in major management accounting textbooks ( Anthony and Govindarajan, 2007, Drury, 2004, Hopper et al., 2007 and Horngren et al., 2002). In their first book on BSC, Kaplan and Norton (1996a) mainly discussed BSC at the business unit level. One chapter, however, was devoted to corporate BSC (CBSC) in which they stated that “a corporate-level scorecard establishes a common framework, a corporate template, about themes and common visions that must be implemented in the scorecards developed at the individual SBUs. The corporate scorecard also establishes how the corporation adds value beyond the value created by the collection of SBUs operating as independent units” (Kaplan and Norton, 1996a, p. 37). Ten years later, Kaplan and Norton (2006a) wrote an entire book on CBSC and they argued that the most successful BSC organisations were those that were best at organisational alignment and the most successful BSC applications needed a CBSC to align their business units, support units, external partners, the board and their investors with the corporate strategy. There is a need for research on CBSC since most previous studies lie at the business unit level and therefore ignore linkages between the corporate and business unit level as well as disregard the interaction between top management and financial analysts (Kald and Nilsson, 2000, Malmi, 2001 and Speckbacher et al., 2003). A CBSC is different from a business unit BSC in two fundamental ways. First, it is alleged that a CBSC helps the corporate management implement and develop corporate strategy with a focus on the coordination of multiple strategic business units. Hence, a CBSC focuses on relationships between the top management and business unit managers and it differs from a business unit BSC, which concentrates on implementing and developing business strategy with a focus on the coordination of functional strategies with the aim of creating competitive advantage in the business landscape (Kaplan and Norton, 1996a and Kaplan and Norton, 2006a). Second, managers at the corporate level are responsible for managing internal as well as external expectations (Roberts et al., 2006). These dual responsibilities differentiate corporate managers from business unit managers in that the former, in addition to internal control of business units, also are responsible for the external reporting and communication with capital market actors. This paper responds to the call for more research on CBSC and investigates the adoption of CBSC and its impact on corporate control of business units. A CBSC is defined as a multi-dimensional performance measurement system at the corporate level where the measures are systematized in perspectives derived from Kaplan and Norton's original four (Malmi, 2001 and Speckbacher et al., 2003). Corporate control is defined, in accordance with Kaplan and Norton (2006a), as the process to coordinate and influence behaviour of managers of decentralized business units to realise company synergies. Hence, corporate control is exerted by corporate management, such as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and the Chief Financial Officer (CFO), over managers of business units. The paper also identifies company explanations of CBSC's impact on control at the corporate level. The findings draw from interviews with senior corporate level managers of 15 of the largest publicly listed Swedish multinational companies. This population is likely to use CBSC, as large companies appear to use scorecards more than small ones (Hoque and James, 2000 and Speckbacher et al., 2003). The next section lays out the theoretical foundations of the paper in three parts: CBSC-adoption; CBSC's impact on corporate level control; and opposing a priori arguments on CBSC's impact on corporate control. Then the research methods are described, the empirical results presented and discussed, and the paper ends with conclusions and suggestions for future research.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
This paper responds to the call for more research on corporate balanced scorecards. We use qualitative insights from interviews with senior corporate managers in 15 large Swedish multinational companies to explore CBSC's impact on corporate control. It was found that 8 of the 15 companies had adopted CBSC which supports surveys showing that BSC is widely diffused among large companies (Hoque and James, 2000, Kald and Nilsson, 2000, Silk, 1998 and Speckbacher et al., 2003). Further analysis revealed that CBSC had little impact on corporate control. Financial CBSC-measures were most important and non-financial measures had little importance. Consistent with this, the companies normally only set standards for financial measures, and incentives were largely based on financial measures. The same pattern emerged for the 7 companies without CBSC. Thus, the empirical results revealed that corporate control was financially focused in all 15 companies despite more than half instituting BSC at the corporate level. The companies identified two reasons for CBSC's low impact on corporate control of business units: the importance of simplicity and comparability; and growing capital market pressure. These results support Lipe and Salterio, 2000 and Lipe and Salterio, 2002, Malina and Selto's (2004) and Wong-On-Wing et al.’s (2007) findings that top management experienced difficulties using CBSC as a control device. Top managers in our study did not believe non-financial measures were trustworthy at a corporate level. Furthermore, they argued that non-financial measures were difficult to use for internal and external benchmarking because their means of calculation were unknown and financial measures were often the only information available for competitors. Top managers in our study focused on only a few common financial measures perceived as objective and accurate when exercising corporate control of business units (Lipe and Salterio, 2000 and Malina and Selto, 2004). They had difficulties utilising CBSC information and argued that evaluating business units’ performance based on various financial and non-financial measures would be too complex a task (Lipe and Salterio, 2002 and Wong-On-Wing et al., 2007). Our results render support to the USA and UK based findings in Ezzamel et al. (2008), Froud et al., 2000 and Froud et al., 2006 and Roberts et al. (2006) that the pressure from the capital market has prompted companies to focus on financial measures at the corporate level as these measures are seen as contributing to an intensified focus upon the discourse of shareholder value. We find that even in a Swedish environment, in which there is less institutional ownership than in the UK and the USA, capital market pressure is strong and has an influence on the top managers, resulting in a focus on financial measures (Froud et al., 2006). Our results also extend this line of research by illustrating how corporate control was influenced by capital market pressure. First, companies’ public statements on predicted financial performance produced internal pressure to emphasise financial measures to meet market expectations. Second, top managers found it problematic to use one set of measures when communicating with external actors and another for internal performance evaluation and decision-making. Third, external influences affected which financial measures were used in corporate control. Cash flow, EPS and EBITDA were examples of measures initially used by analysts and then adopted by the companies for internal control. Finally, the financial focus in corporate control was strengthened by the significance accorded to analysts’ financial expectations. These were compiled and discussed in corporate meetings and some companies even used them as performance standards. Our results should be interpreted with care as our research design has limitations. This paper is a research note that draws on data from 2002 obtained from interviews conducted in Swedish multinational companies. At the time of our study, the majority of the companies included were making profits. In addition, it should be noted that Kaplan and Norton's book on CBSC was published 4 years later, indicating that this was a period during which the ideas of CBSC were in their early stages. It is, therefore, important to examine the issues raised in this paper in the context of more recent data, preferably on data collected after the financial crisis. Has capital market pressure increased even further, or have non-financial measures gained in importance for corporate control? Since most previous studies use data from US companies, it would also be interesting to study the impact of CBSC on corporate control in American multinationals. Another limitation is that we only received access to 15 companies with permission to conduct just one interview in each, mostly with only one corporate manager. Consequently, we were not able to explore whether the scorecards were used more extensively at lower levels. There is a need for case studies of companies that have adopted balanced scorecards both at the corporate and business unit levels to investigate whether companies in which the CBSC has a low impact on corporate control also focus solely on the financial measures in their business units. Our results need to be corroborated by studies conducted on a larger sample of companies, as well as by in-depth studies with access to several corporate managers in the same company if it is to be possible to clarify the impact of the CBSC on corporate control. Such studies could explore whether, like the CFOs in our study, CEOs and other corporate managers place an emphasis on financially focused corporate control and put forward simplicity and comparability arguments and views on capital market pressure as explanations for CBSC's low impact on corporate control. They could also investigate the comparability argument in more detail to see how decisions were taken once a business unit had been identified as an unacceptably poor performer in financial terms. Further studies might also pick up the point on capital market pressure and investigate the danger that the sole use of financial measures by top managers may induce short-term and myopic decisions. In Ezzamel et al.’s (2008) study some consequences are illustrated, for example extensive cost cutting, outsourcing and staff reductions with little discussions about the long-term effects. There is a need for more detailed descriptions and analyses of how corporate control is perceived and carried out when the focus is on financial accounting measures such as EBITDA and cash flow and standards often are set according to analysts’ expectations. The analyses could also include how the capital market pressure is exported downwards in the companies (Ezzamel et al., 2008). This requires access to managers at multiple levels in the organization as well as shop-floor workers. Future studies could also benefit from incorporating the views of analysts and fund managers as most studies on the subject are based on informants from the companies under pressure from the capital market (Ezzamel et al., 2008 and Roberts et al., 2006). With interview access also to for example financial analysts the issue of whether they want only financial communication or if they see a value in structuring communication according to a CBSC can be investigated in-depth with the perspectives of both corporate managers and capital market actors (c.f. Roberts et al., 2006).