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Accounting, Organizations and Society 30 (2005) 735–764 www.elsevier.com/locate/aos
A Ôtime–space odysseyÕ: management control systems in two multinational organisations
, Trevor Hopper
a Saıd Business School, The University of Oxford, Park End Street, OX1 1HP Oxford, UK ¨ School of Accounting and Finance, The University of Manchester, Oxford Road, M13 9PL Manchester, UK
Abstract This paper analyses the eﬀects of implementing an Enterprise Resource Planning system (ERP) upon management control in two multinational organisations. How ERP was conﬁgured in each corporation created diﬀerent forms of distance and relations between headquarters and the scattered subsidiaries. The construction of spatial and temporal separations (i.e. distance) and how they were understood and managed had profound eﬀects on management control. In one organisation the ERP reproduced existing structures and distance which permitted conventional accounting controls based on action at a distance to be maintained. The second organisation used ERP to collapse distance through real-time information in a matrix structure. This did not increase centralisation but rather produced constantly changing loci of control and managerial feelings of ÔminimalistÕ control. Ó 2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Introduction Information technology innovations, especially Enterprise Resource Planning systems (ERPs) are interesting sites for examining relations between distance and management control. ERPs have been deﬁned as ‘‘enterprise wide packages that tightly integrate business functions into a single system
* Corresponding author. Tel.: +44 0 1865 278808; fax: +44 0 1865 278958. E-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org (P. Quattrone).
with a shared database’’ (Newell, Huang, Galliers, & Pan, 2003, p. 26, drawing on Lee & Lee, 2000). The belief that integration improves visibility and control is often taken-for-granted in the ERP literature (Dechow...
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