Management Control During Forced Remote Working Conditions - A Case Study of a Global Leader in Container Shipping and a Big Four Accounting Firm

University essay from Göteborgs universitet/Graduate School

Abstract: Purpose: This study investigates how forced remote working may have affected the design and use of management controls within organizations. Methodology: Interviews were conducted with respondents from two well-established organizations with different organizational approaches. A hierarchical and individualistic container shipping company and a social and team-oriented accounting firm. Additionally, both managers and employees were interviewed to receive a better understanding of the design and use of management controls during forced remote working conditions. Contingency theory was used as a lens through which the findings were analyzed. Findings: The findings reveal that lack of social interaction is considered a large issue connected with forced remote working conditions and that this also leads to some motivational issues. However, procrastination is not adopted to a significant extent and work-home-conflicts are practically non-existing. Organizational prerequisites such as previously established controls, inherent motivation, organizational culture, and work characteristics, are found influencing the severity of the control issues connected with forced remote working conditions. To counter the issues that exist, organizations increase comprehensiveness of both cultural and administrative controls and tightness of results control but decrease tightness of administrative controls. Practical Implications: The findings of this study have important implications for practitioners and researchers in respect to how organizational prerequisites influence issues connected with forced remote working conditions and how management controls may be designed and used in a forced remote work setting to manage these issues. Originality: The findings highlight the importance of awareness of established organizational prerequisites and their influence on issues connected with forced remote working conditions. It builds on existing theory within the field of management accounting and provides new knowledge about how management control can function in a context of forced remote working.

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