Before presenting and analyzing the research undertaken by Mrs. Abernethy and Mrs. Lillis on the impact of manufacturing flexibility on management control system, we estimate that it is important firstly to know more about the careers of these two professors. On the section of their book "Accounting, Organizations and Society" which deals with the "Impact of manufacturing flexibility on management control system design", the two Professors started by highlighting a management dilemma. This one is not expressly indicated, but we describe it as follows: Controlling manufacturing activities are sometimes considered as irrelevant when firms implement certain manufacturing strategies.For instance, the two authors began their paper by referring to Kaplan (1990) who expressed: "The relevance of accounting is most seriously questioned in firms implementing "new" manufacturing strategies".
[...] Analysis of the impact of manufacturing flexibility on a particular component of MCS: Performance measurement system Mrs Abernethy and Mrs Lillis have reviewed the studies which examined the relationship between manufacturing flexibility and the design of performance measurement systems (PMS) in manufacturing companies. Nevertheless, most of the researches are done at the strategic business level, not at the manufacturing one. And so the Authors referred to the different results obtained by studying SBU level, and this can be, according to us, widely different from the results we could have at a manufacturing level. [...]
[...] Brief description of their research methodology After reviewing the literature which has examined the relationship between control system design and strategic commitments, they will collect data through semi-structured interviews conducted on general managers or managing directors in manufacturing firms in Melbourne, Australia. Then, the two researchers will conduct an exploratory analysis of these data, to answer to their management question. We can notice that we have no indication about time and budgets required for this study. Conceptual framework In a first part, the Professors have reviewed the literature which has examined the relationship between control system design and strategic commitments. [...]
[...] To summarize this section in schematic and simplest way, we decided to construct a table Firm without Firms with strategic commitments to commitments to manufacturing Reference manufacturing flexibility authors flexibility (Harvest (Build strategy) (Strategic strategy) (Prospectors) Gupta & mission)* (Defenders) Govindarajan typology) Miles & Snow Strategic Cost minimization Differentiation Parthasarthy & Focus on flexibility High product High product standardization customization To use mass To use flexible production produce standard customer-driven Bowen et unchanging Nemetz & Fry Relatively stable Process production Changing process stability process Systems focusing on efficiency [...]
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