Management Control


Course Objective

This course provides in-depth knowledge that relates to how firms create
the conditions to achieve predetermined or desirable outcomes. It allows
students by means of a textbook, cases and academic papers to consider a
wide range of control mechanisms that can be used to achieve this
purpose of achieving organizational objectives,
ranging from formal information-based mechanisms to more informal
personnel and social control mechanisms (Bridging theory and practice -
knowledge). Students share their thoughts on application and use of
controls by presenting cases and paper reviews and lead classroom
discussions (Bridging theory and knowledge - application; Professional
social skills), balancing pros and cons - also from an ethical point of
view, to express their suggestions on the application of controls in
practice (Broadening your horizon - responsibility).

Course Content

The contents of this course can broadly be divided into two sections.
The first section deals with the control function of management and
management control system design. This section includes topics such as
the cause of control problems and the need for management control
systems (MCS) in organizations, management control alternatives and
their effects on behavior, and the determinants of MCS design. This part
of the course will build mainly on the book by Merchant and van der
Stede as referred to below, and case presentations and discussions. The
second section of the course uses these insights from part I to study
MCS in its organizational context using empirical research that focuses
on: (1) performance measurement, target setting and incentive
compensation, (2) strategy and business models, and (3) connections with
risk management. In analyzing these elements of the control function,
contemporary empirical accounting and management research is examined by
critically studying, presenting and reporting on articles from the
accounting literature. This section therefore also builds on both theory
insight from part I and skills in research methods acquired earlier
during the economics and business administration curriculum. In
addition, the second section of the course includes a series of guest
lectures that bring these topics into a real-life context.

Teaching Methods

Class in a group of approx. 30 students on Monday and Thursday.

Method of Assessment

Case reports (2 * 7.5% of final grade)
Presentation (case or paper review – 7.5% of final grade)
Paper review (7.5% of final grade)
Written exam (70% of final grade)
Optional assignment yielding a maximum of 1 full point on top of final


- Merchant, K.A. & Van der Stede, W.A. (2017). Management Control
Systems: Performance Measurement, Evaluation and Incentives, Pearson,
4rd Edition.
- Selected articles for review, presentation and discussion (to be
announced in the course manual).

Target Audience

The course is primarily aimed towards students in the Master program in
Accounting and Control and in the Master program in Financial

Additional Information

In enrolling for the course, please take note of the fact that
presentation, cases and paper reviews are subject to team work (of max 3
students, to be formed during the first lecture). This means that once
starting this course, you are expected to finish it.

Recommended background knowledge

The course assumes basic knowledge of common economic theories (e.g.,
agency theory) and accounting knowledge (e.g., cost behavior, investment

General Information

Course Code E_ACC_MC
Credits 6 EC
Period P4
Course Level 400
Language of Tuition English
Faculty School of Business and Economics
Course Coordinator prof. dr. H.C. Dekker
Examiner prof. dr. H.C. Dekker
Teaching Staff prof. dr. H.C. Dekker
dr. P.C.M. Claes

Practical Information

You need to register for this course yourself

Last-minute registration is available for this course.

Teaching Methods Lecture
Target audiences

This course is also available as: