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Management Control Systems: Balanced Scorecard and Tableau De Bord (Management Project)

Purpose:
The aim of this study is to contribute to a richer understanding of the two management control systems, Balanced Scorecard (BSC) and Tableau de Bord (TDB), and their ability to function in a real life setting, as an important element for efficiently support organization’s strategy.

Design/Methodology/Approach:
A case study, containing Company A, was executed through a qualitative approach with the intention to connect the theories, the control systems BSC and TDB, to a real life setting. The empirical findings are mainly based upon information collected through semi-structured interviews.

Findings:
The BSC is perceived as strict and controlling in its nature and as primarily establishing facts, while the TDB enhances communication with an educational intention. Regardless of the numerous of advantages the use of a TDB would entail, the current structure of Company A, with its hierarchical approach, resists its implementation.

Theory, together with the employee’s desire, might imply TDB as the optimal alternative for supporting the strategy, however, the reality of Company A, with the directors of the board as monitors and decision-makers, suggests the use of a BSC. As a result of the correlation between the choice of MCS and the ideology of an organization, BSC will continue to be perceived as the optimal practice within Company A as long as the top-down approach remains.

Whether the theory or the reality is to decide which control system to be used is for the organization to determine. Regardless of the organization’s choice of control system, advantages will emerge if a genuine implementation is completed in close connection to the theoretical framework.

Research Limitations:
The thesis intends to investigate the connection between control system and strategy, however, without providing any explicit theoretical framework regarding strategy. Nor will the strategic content of Company A be further analyzed. The small sample limits the ability to provide any general conclusions, however, similarities and parallels can be drawn and associated to related situations.

Practical Implications:
The thesis is mainly concerned with highlighting the practical relevance of the theories employed.

Further Research:
The TDB practice will require a more developed acknowledgment beyond its domestic origin before it can be recognized among organizations as a valid alternative to the BSC. In order for the BSC to continue being perceived as a respected control system, there is a need of a continued development of the theory in correspondence to the rapid changes in the business environment, which in turn would allow for greater flexibility in its use.

Further, there is a need to emphasize the importance for organizations to involve their employees in open dialogue, which would ensure more precise information when implementing a BSC. This applies to both internal and external information.
Source: Uppsala University
Authors: Björk, Ann | Sjöstrand, Malin

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