Making Purpose Purposeful - A Multiple Case Study on How Management Control Systems are Used to Fulfill Purpose-Strategies
Sammanfattning: The topic of purpose-strategies has received attention within both business and academia after recent studies have shown positive outcomes for companies who have adopted purpose-strategies. Previous literature has mostly examined how purpose is developed, implemented, and what outcomes it may bring. However, the topic of purpose governance and control has largely been neglected, creating a missing link in the research area. Furthermore, research about purpose-strategy among business-serving companies has also been overlooked. Literature about Management Control Systems (MCS) has been imperative to understand strategy-making, by explaining how strategies are controlled and monitored. Using MCS as a theoretical lens, this qualitative multiple-case study explores how organizations act to control their purpose-strategy. Moreover, the study investigates explanations behind variety in deployment of control processes between companies. The results of the study shows that companies thoroughly control attainment of purpose strategies using a broad mix of formal and informal MCS. Additionally, our findings suggest that the level of heterogeneity and the tangibleness of a company's offering determine the use of MCS to control fulfillment of purpose. The study contributes to the theoretical understanding of controlling purpose-strategies using the lens of formal and informal MCS, and what explains variations between choices of method when controlling purpose-strategies. The findings furthermore provide valuable insight for managers looking to design control processes related to purpose strategies.
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