یک مطالعه تجربی از محرک های طراحی سیستم های کنترل مدیریت در توسعه محصول جدید
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|16206||2000||27 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Accounting, Organizations and Society, Volume 25, Issues 4–5, May 2000, Pages 383–409
New product development has changed significantly over the last decade and management control systems have played an important role in this transformation. This study draws on Galbraith's concept of uncertainty and investigates the relationship between project uncertainty, product strategy and management control systems. It also explores whether these systems help or, as argued in the innovation literature, hinder product development performance. Results support the relevance of the project uncertainty and product strategy to explain the design of management control systems. They also show that better cost and design information has a positive association with performance, but that time information has a negative effect.
New product development has become a central dimension in the strategies of many companies (Brown and Eisenhardt, 1995, Clark and Fujimoto, 1991, Grant, 1996, Gupat & Wilemon, 1990 and Shilling and Hill, 1998). Current emphasis on first mover advantages, fast product introductions, more demanding product functionality, and shortening life cycles has put greater pressure on new product development (Cooper, 1998). While manufacturing has traditionally been a key repository of core competencies (Hayes & Abernathy, 1980), outperforming competitors in product development has emerged as a relevant source of competitive advantage. As the process has gained importance, academics as well as practitioners have voiced the importance that management control systems play in coordinating and controlling this process (Cooper and Kleinschmidt, 1987 and Zirger and Maidique, 1990). For example, Clark and Fujimoto (1991), in their study of the product development process in the auto industry, argue that: Today's effective product development organization is characterized not only by creativity and freedom, but also by discipline and control in scheduling, resource use, and product quality (...) The challenge in product development is not so much unilateral pursuit of organic structure and permissive management style as a subtle balance of control and freedom, precision and flexibility, individualism and teamwork (Clark & Fujimoto, p. 169). However, this emphasis on a structured product development process contrasts with the traditional view supporting a hands-off approach (Lothian, 1984 and McNair and Leibfried, 1992). According to this latter view, successful new products result from devoting adequate resources to the process and avoiding control procedures that could restrict the freedom of engineers. The impact of management control systems in product development performance is, therefore, unclear. So far, management accounting literature has devoted scant attention to new product development. Most studies have looked at the relevance of management control systems to the broader process of R&D (Abernethy and Brownell, 1997, Birnberg, 1988, Brownell, 1985, Hayes, 1977, Kamm, 1980, Rockness and Shields, 1984 and Rockness and Shields, 1988). These studies mainly characterize management control systems as hindering or, at most, being irrelevant in R&D settings. In contrast, Nixon (1998) offers a rich case description of a product development process where financial control plays a significant role. The importance of new product development requires the allocation of accounting research resources in order to understand the phenomenon. This study seeks to extend this line of inquiry. Using a contingency approach, the study investigates the design of management control systems1 to understand how companies adapt their systems to the particular characteristics of each product development effort. Moreover, the study brings new evidence to the unsettled issue of the relevance or, alternatively, the lack of relevance of management control systems in product development. Several characteristics distinguish this study. In contrast to previous research, the unit of analysis is the product development project rather than the R&D project. Because R&D projects are very heterogeneous (National Science Foundation, 1976), focusing on one type of project increases the power of the research design. The study also goes beyond the narrow definition of management control systems around financial information to add formal but non-financial information (Kaplan, 1983 and Banker, Potter and Schroeder, 1993). Moreover, the theoretical foundation of the study leads to an interpretation of management control systems different from previous studies and to a different set of independent variables. The study focuses on the medical devices industry to keep the external factors as constant as possible and avoid confounding effects that may come from differences across industries. This industry has several attractive characteristics. First, product development is an important process: R&D over sales averages more than 5% for the industry and new products are constantly introduced. Therefore, companies have well thought-out product development processes. Second, the industry is characterized by a lot of technological diversity. Some products — syringes, for example — use well-established technology, while others — CT systems, for example — compete by bringing to the market the latest technology developed. Finally, product strategies are also diverse; even products belonging to the same company and serving the same product-market have to adapt their value proposition to different market segments ranging from price sensitive to performance oriented customers. X-ray products include machines designed to take static images of parts of the body, where price is the key purchasing criteria, as well as sophisticated machines that scan the whole body from different angles, where performance and customer interfaces are the key competitive dimensions.2 Both diversity in technology and product strategies suggest that companies manage product development differently. The remainder of this paper is structured as follows. The next section reviews previous research on the design and role of management control systems in R&D and presents the theoretical framework underlying the study. Section 3 describes the phenomenon studied through the description of four representative cases. These cases illustrate the variables in the research as well as the hypotheses of the study. Section 4 develops the hypotheses for the empirical test based on the theory as well as case findings. Section 5 describes the research design for the survey study. Section 6 discusses the results of the paper and Section 7 reaches conclusions.