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Title: Perceptions of management control by mainland Chinese, Czech and British managers
Author: Williamson, Dermot
ISNI:       0000 0001 3569 6130
Awarding Body: University of Glasgow
Current Institution: University of Glasgow
Date of Award: 2001
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This exploratory research inquires into the effect that national culture, among other cross-national factors has upon perceptions of management control. It studies differences in control perceptions between mainland Chinese, Czech and British managers workingfor two Western multi-national companies (MNCs). Different perceptions can lead to misunderstanding and thence to weak, or break down in, control. Barriers of national culture and differences in national contexts pose ever greater challengesfor managers who need to provide or receive assurance that their business is under effective control. They also have implications for regulation of internal control of MNCs. Empirical cross-national research to date into management control is to a large extent inconsistent, and offers little supportfor theory. Existing theory appears to be insufficiently grounded in past empirical research to provide a sound foundation for hypotheses and future nomothetic research. Middle range methodology is put forward as a way out of this quandary. Middle range research between objectivist and subjectivist methodologies faces competing criteria for rigour. Criteria are interpreted for middle range methodologies and developedfor grounded theory case studies. The main features of the substantive theory from this grounded theory (Strauss and Corbin, 1998) case study are that there is no standard perception of management control. Control perception is therefore unpredictable from a manager's cultural background Yet, clear patterns in control perceptions emerge between countries of upbringing; these patterns are distinct from differences between the 2 MNCs. Six key areas of differences in perception are analysed (external relations, obligations of responsibility and accountability, internal relations, information, law and procedures, and systems logic). A number of values and preferences, generally shared by managers from the same country, appear to underlie these differences in perception. Differences in control perception are related to national cultures and other contextualfactors, yet all of these are seen as potentially interdependent. This substantive theory does not provide a basisfor prediction. It is a skeletal theory that can be transferred to other situations where researchers and practitioners find it applicable. It may there give awareness of possible differences in control perceptions, assist explanation, and contribute to the building of consistent knowledge and learning. Awareness and understanding of cultural differences in control perceptions are shown to be useful to ethnocentric or polycentric approaches to management control. They may also assist reconciliation of cultural differences for management that adopts a geocentric approach. Perceptions by the managers from the Czech Republic and mainland China are generally inconsistent with accountability theory, although not with a systems approach to management control. The implication is that some management control theories may be parochial to the cultures in which they have been developed. This has policy implicationsfor howfar professional guidance and standards on internal control (COSO, 1994; IIA - UK, 1994; APB, 1995; Turnbull, 1999) can be applied internationally without recognising the impact of national culture and other crossnational contextual factors.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: HB Economic Theory