Controllo e complessità. Il ruolo delle forme di rappresentazione per il governo di problemi complessi

Control and complexity. The role of the visual representations in complex settings.

This study explores the use of strategy maps for decision-making in complex settings. Specifically, this study draws on complexity as a conceptual lens to qualify the contexts in which companies operate, suggesting that management control systems should act as support systems in these contexts. Using data collected from a in depth case study, this paper finds that strategy map, as a peculiar form of visual representation, helps top management to rationalize, share and generate new insights about the roles of management control systems in complex settings.

Keywords: complexity, uncertainty, management control, visual representations, strategy maps



Strategie di sostenibilità: dalle motivazioni ai sistemi di misurazione della performance

Sustainability strategies: from motivation to performance measurement system

The paper aims to examine the main changes that performance measurement systems of firms have to face after the adoption of sustainability strategies. The relationship between sustainability strategies and performance measurement systems is analysed along three main dimensions: the reasons that lead to the implementation of sustainability strategies; the changes that these strategies produce within the performance measurement systems; the feedback effects that the revised performance measurement systems determine on the sustainability strategies.

We adopted a qualitative research methodology analysing a single case study: ASIA Napoli S.p.A. The case study and the results have been achieved through a theoretical framework built in the first step of the research. The case study allowed to examine the role of legitimacy and reputation when a company chooses to implement sustainability strategies, and confirmed, overall, that the decision to integrate sustainability into business strategy produces changes in performance measurement systems. Our findings showed that the implementation of sustainability strategies produce some changes in the performance measurement systems with regard to the processes and the tools for information and data collection. However, tools for information processing and analysing for decision-making support are less developed. The results also suggested that the measurement of social performance represents an incentive to revise sustainability strategies.

Keywords: sustainability strategies, performance measurement systems, Legitimacy theory, Resource Based View, reputation, case study.



How Italian companies are monitoring innovation

The paper aims to highlight the characteristics of a Managerial Control System (MCS) that can better support innovation processes. The topic is not new, but it has been analysed by previous literature mostly from a theoretical perspective. There is, instead, a lack of empirical evidence supporting the different approaches.

This study, through the analyses of a sample of Italian firms, tries to contribute in this direction. The sample of this study was chosen from Italian manufacturing firms operating in the sectors with the largest number of registered patents according to the European innovation trend chart. The results show that MCS can enhance product/service innovation but can also inhibit it depending on the role the MCS fosters. MCS can be an obstacle for innovation when limited to pursuing diagnostic functions. On the contrary, product/service innovation is positively associated with an interactive role of MCS. These, although necessary to evaluate business performance, become effective innovation drivers only when they are proposed to stimulate coordination, communication, and learning inside the groups devoted to innovation.

Keywords: Performance Measurement, Managerial Control, Innovation, Informal Control, Interactive Control, Diagnostic Control.




Inter-firm coordination as an Information problem. The case of a divisionalized company

The extant literature on inter-organizational control distinguishes the main control problems as coordination problems and appropriation concerns. The present study focuses on coordination problems and is intended to understand the process leading to the hybrid nature of inter-firm coordination modes and the role of information in this process.

In a theoretical part, after discussing the main critical assumptions underlying coordination studies, an integrative framework is proposed to conceptualize the coordination process and describe the role of information in this process. In Particular, the framework assumes inter-firm settings as a-centered and a-static, whence the relevance of an interpretive approach where coordination is viewed as a process characterized by dialectic interactions between coordinating actors.

The empirical part of the study is aimed at verifying the explanatory power of the framework studying a case of outsourcing relations in a divisionalized company operating in the semi-conductor industry. The case provided useful data giving new insights that enrich the framework.

Keywords: coordination, information, inter-organizational relations.





Accounting Information Systems in an Open Society. Emerging Trends and Issues

During the second decade of the XXI century, several contextual forces have changed the way in which firms interact with environment. The economic and financial crisis, the development of technologies, the convergence between different communication channels and the spread of social networks are just some of the forces that determine a quick and radical change in the way employees and firms look at the future and interact each other.

This contribution focuses on the meaning of the word “open” as one of the keywords of this period and highlights how the open society affects accounting information systems, as systems processing information to support strategic decisions in such a complicated environment.

Keywords: accounting information systems, open society.



The role of IS Auditing in assurance services

This study investigates the role of IS auditor concerning the digital environment in the assurance services. The study has its relevance where the implications of abandonment of ISA 401 or suppression ISA 620 in auditing engagement particularly, when one reflects upon the current complexity from use of digital technologies and the questionings arising from the recent financial scandals. As a result, this phenomenon has challenged the knowledge, expertise and role of independent auditors, which is primarily aimed at ensuring the reliability of accounting information by asserting business transactions or events in terms of integrity, occurrence, accuracy, cutoff, classification and disclosure. The study toes the critical reality theories to in-depth investigate the role of IS audit in financial audit engagement team in this digital environment. Based on our analysis, the independent auditors need to rethink the neglect of ISA 401 and ISA 620 in order to ensure the true rule of quality of financial statement audit.

Keywords: Auditing, Assurance Services, Information Systems, Compliance


Performance Appraisal of Business Networks. How SMEs Define and Monitor Network Objectives

This paper aims to understand how business networks created by Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) measure the common results achieved through the example of Italian network contracts. The relevance of the topic is demonstrated by the widespread adoption of networking strategies and the difficulty for both researchers and SMEs managers to evaluate the success of the alliances created.

Focusing on the network as an entity, the empirical analysis searched for the adoption of performance measurement systems at the network level and the usage of information systems to collect and disseminate information. Preference has been given to the use of multiple case-studies. Data collection recurred to direct interviews and document analysis.

Our findings indicate that the analyzed SMEs networks do not have a proper management control system at the network level. Network managers collect some indicators related to the resources invested, the network’s internal processes and the customer dimension, but these indicators are not linked by causal relationships. All networks prepare an annual report, which is mainly used to monitor expenses. However, network meetings and internal communications are considered more important tools to monitor network members’ behavior and assess the results achieved.


Keywords: Performance, Business Networks, Small and Medium Enterprises, Performance Measurement Systems


The performance appraisal of public/private networks. The case of home care integrated services for the elderly

In the last thirty years, many OECD countries have taken reform paths in the financing and in the delivery of home care integrated services. In particular, the last Italian reform of welfare (Law n. 328/2000) is inspired on a multi-level governance model which involves several institutional levels and actors to help non-self sufficient elderly patients and their families to satisfy their needs better.

Italian municipalities and health districts represent relevant actors in the network of long-term care. However, the integration between them represents the real challenge to face.

After analyzing the existing literature on performance assessment in network settings, we examined the performance of home care integrated services for older people by investigating the case of Apulia region (the South of Italy). We collected survey data from 21 health districts out of 49 in the region (43%), and from 17 out of 45 “local welfare areas” (38%) in the same geographical context.

The research was carried out by means of statistical methods (OLS). The analysis was cross sectional.

Overall, the research may provide empirical evidence to analyze performance of networks in long term care, and it may strengthen findings of previous studies on the matter.

Keywords: Care networks, Performance Measurement, Integration, Information systems, Health care.







The performativity of Accounting Information System in interfirm relationships

Over the last decades, contributions in Management Accounting have focused at the forms of controls that are suited in situations of strategic alliances with suppliers, investigating the role of accounting tools, such as Accounting Information System (AIS), in supplier selection. We investigate the performative role of AIS in selecting suppliers. More specifically, we interpret AIS not just as an accounting tool, which explains reality but as an actor who contributes to create reality, performing it. Drawing on Actor Network Theory (ANT) as a proper method theory, we study the dynamics among actors (human and non-human) directly involved and their interactions. In doing so, we carry out a longitudinal case-study at a manufacturing firm located in the south of Italy, where we examine the performative role of the AIS in supplier selection from 2012 up to 2014. ANT lens provides a better understanding of role played by AIS in selecting suppliers by mobilising all actors enrolled in the selection process.

Keywords: performativity, Accounting Information System, supplier selection, interfirm relationship


Managerial Information and Integrated Accounting Systems. The Perception of Italian Managers

The paper seeks to analyze the effects that an integrated Information Technology (IT) system and the overall integration of accounting systems have on the quality in managerial information. The exploratory analysis was based on a sample of Italian managers (controllers and financial accountants) working for both publicly held and non-publicly held firms, both large and small/medium-size companies. Preliminary empirical findings based on a survey from the Italian context have contributed to reduce the gap in the literature and to provide some evidence useful for managerial practices.

Keywords: Managerial Information, Integrated Information Technology, Integration of Accounting Systems, Italian Firms.


The Strategic Intelligence implications for Information Systems

In current economic contexts, one of the most important drivers of firm success is the ability of information systems to answer the call for new relevant data. This request for data is increasingly related to the likelihood of supporting the strategic decision-making process. Consequently, data collection and data analysis processes are evolving from the traditional Enterprise Resource Planning systems to innovative Strategic Intelligence. Despite the growing attention on Intelligence, there is a lack of studies analysing the many critical perspectives and data that firms can consider to embrace Intelligence in strategic management. The literature, from one perspective, does not clearly define the boundaries of the broad concept of Strategic Intelligence, and, from another perspective, does not provide the needed support to the information selection process for decision-making. Accordingly, the aim of this paper is to develop an integrated framework that aims to support the commitment of managers to Strategic Intelligence by analysing the implications for information systems. Using a structured literature review, we develop a conceptual comprehensive framework based on five main dimensions: competitive intelligence, market intelligence, resources intelligence, finance intelligence and innovation intelligence. The comprehensive framework provides insights and guidelines for collecting, analysing and explaining data for Strategic Intelligence. Specifically, the paper suggests sources and methods to translate data into effective knowledge for strategic decision-making.

Keywords: strategic intelligence, information systems, strategic management, decision making.


Esiste una strategia di Internal Auditing che crea valore? Un’analisi empirica del contesto italiano

Does exist an internal strategy that can create value? An empirical analysis of the Italian context

To create value the internal auditing (IA) functions should define a strategy taking into account the characteristics of the external and internal environment and the expectations of the IA stakeholders. It does not exist a “one best way” to create value, but the IA strategy should be defined and implemented considering the specific contexts in which the IA functions operate. This is the main finding that emerges from the empirical analysis the authors have carried out in cooperation with the Italian Institute of Internal Auditors involving 78 CAEs (Chief Audit Executives). Other important research findings show that the IA function performs more the assurance engagements than the consulting activities. Moreover there is a growing use of audit software, data analytics and data mining tools to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of IA process and finally the IA carries out a wide range of auditing activities to meet the various expectations of an increasing number of stakeholders.

Keywords: internal auditing, strategy, audit plan, value creation


DONZA_2016.1_Tabelle di Sintesi



Il contributo del Sistema Informativo alla gestione logistica dei materiali. Un caso di studio nel settore sanitario

The contribution of the Information System to the logistic materials management. A case study in health sector

The internal distributive logistic process of materials appears to be primary and strategic activity in any type of company, both in the production of goods and services. In recent years, this issue has caught the attention of the scientific world and of the operative one.

Its smooth operation allows adequate enterprise risk management aimed at averting the occurrence of adverse events and the effective and efficient management of stocks to achieve cost reductions of storage and handling.

For inpatients or outpatients, with important consequences for the clinical risk management aimed to prevent the occurrence of adverse events.

In line with the evolution of doctrine, the informative system supporting the management assumes a configuration more and more close to the operations setting as a basic requirement to be able to make the tracing of the whole process. The purpose is to know the use of the resources, for what purposes and in what locations, in addition to managing the stock devices of the department. The management can thus have available a range of information crucial to know the cost for each health activity or to make trusted forecasts and programming. This paper illustrates how, starting from the critical issues identified in a specific operational context and characterizing the most logistics-distributing hospital systems, it was possible to create an electronic data processing system that allow you to achieve the aforementioned objectives.

Keywords: internal logistics, information system, process management, clinical risk management.







Nuove prospettive di ricerca sulle tematiche di Management Control


In una fase di rapido cambiamento degli scenari ambientali e aziendali, è necessario riflettere se e come la ricerca nell’area dei sistemi di Management Control debba essere ri-orientata e, quindi, se la linea editoriale della rivista debba essere ri-definita. Dare risposta alle richieste del mondo accademico e degli operatori aziendali sulle tematiche di pianificazione, informazione e controllo, con il ricorso ad un approccio integrato di analisi, era stata la linea editoriale definita nel primo numero della rivista (Management Control, n. 1/2011). Il suddetto approccio di analisi era stato definito in termini di “integrazione dei sistemi operativi con quelli informativo-contabili, della struttura organizzativa con la tecnologia informatica, dell’analisi revisionale con quella prospettica, anche al fine di raccordare i sistemi di misurazione con quelli di governo aziendale, nel riferimento indistinto ad aziende pubbliche e private, profit e non-profit”. La rivista intendeva differenziarsi, in tal modo, dalle riviste “generaliste” dell’economia aziendale e dall’insieme, più numeroso, delle riviste aventi carattere specialistico in rapporto ad una singola funzione aziendale, ovvero ad uno specifico settore di attività. L’obiettivo di fondo della rivista era quello di inserirsi nel processo di internazionalizzazione della ricerca coniugando le conoscenze affermate a livello internazionale con i valori di fondo del pensiero economico aziendale italiano, anche nella scelta metodologica, cioè mantenendo il noto metodo di ricerca integrato induttivo-deduttivo. Il richiamo all’approccio integrato di analisi e all’obiettivo di fondo ci permette di dare una prima risposta alla domanda che ci siamo posti all’inizio: la linea editoriale della rivista rimane senz’altro valida. […]





Evaluation of the e-Invoicing Impacts through a set of Key Performance Indicators

The dematerialization of business processes is one of the main challenges of the current decade. The concept of e-invoicing does not mean only the production and management of electronic invoices: it represents a part of the entire financial value chain and supply chain dematerialization (for its non-commodity component). In-deed the two value chains are now even more integrated and recent studies have shown significant monetary savings. The research question is now to define a reli-able set of indicators, which is also able to capture and to synthesize the interac-tions between the Financial Value Chain and the Supply Chain. In this paper we propose and validate among experts a set of Key Performance Indicators able to monitor these value chains from the financial, strategic, supplier, order and deliv-ery perspectives. The model has been validated through a survey that has been submitted to a number of players operating in different Italian value chains. The results obtained also allow building an assessment model in which a weight is assigned to each indicator and a comprehensive index can be generated.

Keywords: Dematerialization, e-Invoicing, Business management, Processes, Supply Chain, Metrics, Operational Costs, Simplification, Standards.


Il controllo relazionale nelle destinazioni Turistiche: alcune evidenze empiriche

The Relational Control in Tourism Destinations: some empiric evidences

The Relational control is exerted within partnership of economic operators with different legal status, which are complementary in organization and production. Its aim is the efficient and effective use of resources by the partnership.

This research aims first of all to describe briefly a managerial control system (formed by formal and informal mechanisms, instruments used ex ante, in itinere, ex-post) to exert the relational or inter-organizational control, and then to check, through a survey, the use of this kind of inter-organizational control system within a sample of 249 Destination Management Organization (DMO) existing in 31 different world countries.

The main research questions is: “Does the sample of DMOs use an inter-organizational system control towards their partners”? If yes, the research explores the mechanisms and instruments used by DMOs at the moment or that will be used in the middle term; if not, the research explores the conceptual and/or economic obstacles that prevent or delay their implementation.


Keywords: Relational control, Destination, Destination Management Organization.


Research perspectives on corporate reputation and company’s performance measurement. An interpretive framework

In the knowledge economy, corporate reputation is relevant in increasing financial and extra-financial performance of contemporary companies. Although corporate reputation represents a significant dimension of relational capital, included in the intellectual capital, its characteristics are not easy to measure in assessing company performance over the time. In this direction, the paper aims to analyze the corporate reputation as influential intangible asset of contemporary company to define its evaluation by completing the company performance measurement system. This paper uses an updated conceptualization of corporate reputation literature which focuses on the need to integrate and complete the value of company performance. Performing a literature review on corporate reputation allows us to build an adequate framework for a new, integrated and innovative way to evaluate this intangible asset in the future scientific contribution. So, the research aims to create an integrated literature framework on corporate reputation, including studies on the evaluation of corporate reputation as strategic asset, its relevance in the definition of company performance, its impact on stakeholders’ behavior.

 Keywords: Corporate Reputation, Intangible Asset, Performance, Performance Measurement, Relational Capital.


Regulatory compliance of financial control sys-tems and its implications for accountants. Some evidence from Italian experience

The research examines the compliance of firms with laws and rules concerning accounting information and financial control systems. In particular it investigates the role of accountants and the skills they employ during the adoption of laws and regulations (regulatory compliance). In the preliminary step, the research suggests a reviewed concept of regulatory compliance: it is based on the idea that firms must consider compliance as a strategic opportunity, able to activate key changes in accounting procedures, information tools, organizational roles, control mechanisms.

In the following step the research examines how the revised vision of regulatory compliance affects accounting positions, accountants’ role and their skills. Using data collected on a sample of Italian accountants, an empirical research provides some evidences on key skills and competencies requested for an effective regulatory compliance.

Keywords: Compliance, Regulatory Compliance, Accounting Control, Accounting roles.


Cause e implicazioni del cambiamento del revisore


Causes and implications of the auditor changes

This paper explores causes and implications of the auditor changes. We investigate the US setting in which the changes are voluntary and there is mandatory disclosure about the reasons for the change. The findings show that changes with a departing Big-4 are motivated by the auditor’s concerns about the client firm weaknesses in internal control processes and compliance with law. The changes between Non-Big-4 auditors are associated with the issuance of going concern qualified opinions, suggesting possible audit opinion shopping by client firms. The switches from a Non-Big-4 to a Big-4 auditor are associated with issues related to the application of accounting standards. Overall, our findings suggest that changes allow auditors to better organise their audit, and balance the objectives of their assignments and the maintenance of effective client relations. The balance of reasonably effective internal controls systems and of risk-proportioned audit fees is at the core of negotiations between audit and client firms. Also, the search for more effective audit and higher governance and financial markets reputation may motivate the switch from a smaller audit firm to a Big-4. The information regarding auditor changes can shed light upon the financial reporting practices and management behaviour, signalling to investors any potential misrepresentation, to the management potential risk areas and to regulators where they might need to intervene to enforce auditor and management independence.

Keywords: auditor change, Big-4, internal controls, auditor independence.

Appendice 1 

Appendice 2


Dal Reporting alla Contabilità Industriale. Relazioni di coerenza e integrazione informativa

Integration between Reporting and Costing Models

The paper focuses on managerial accounting and cost accounting features, their different logics in the budgeting process, highlighting the importance of calculating the cost of the product, for prices formulation and inventory evaluation, the balance sheet item that more than any other transcends the accounting. While going down the bill of material, the value of production processes, represented by routing, increases. As a matter of fact, the typical question of Management Control, especially for industrial controlling, is what costs are included in the calculation of step rate, to check with the consistency of reporting scheme.

Keywords: statutory accounting, management accounting, cost accounting, bill of material, routing, phantom item.


“Management Control” Special Issue: Research perspectives in Performance Management


This Special Issue is a selection of papers presented to the third Management Control Journal Workshop on “Research perspectives in Performance Management”, held in Pisa on 23-24 July 2014 and it provides valuable insights into Italian research on performance management. The final picture is broad and it offers different views on the objectives, theories and methodologies. A total of five papers out of thirteen are included in this Special Issue. Starting with a review, Gaia Bassani and Cristina Cattaneo in “Performance management systems and strategy: state of art in Italian journals” disclose the perspectives and the contents of Italian academic journals on Performance Management Systems (PMSs). Their review is based on papers selected from the ESSPER database from 1980 to 2013 and it focuses on 34 papers that have been frequently published since 2000. Their analysis takes into consideration the distinction used in the international literature between PMSs which provide support for strategic decisions and PMSs which are implemented to develop and execute a defined strategy. The papers reviewed are predominantly normative, they are mostly conceptual and the debates appear more fragmented than in the international context. Furthermore, some suggestions to  Italian researchers are provided, such as leveraging the holistic research approach towards  Italy’s Economia Aziendale to answer the questions about PMSs that are frequently asked in the international arena. […]





Performance Management Systems and Strategy: The state of the art in Italian journals

Taking the Ferreira and Otley (2009) broad view of performance management sys-tems (PMSs), the aim of this paper is to investigate the debate over PMSs and strategy tackled in a context of strong traditional academic roots in the accounting field, such as that in Italy. We conduct the research through a systematic review of studies on this topic that have been published in Italian journals since 1980. In de-termining the object of analysis, we discuss if these papers follow the taken-for-granted international distinction between strategic PMSs as such (ref. to first stream of literature) and PMSs introduced for developing and executing a defined strategy (ref. to second stream of literature). The literature review is based on pa-pers selected from the ESSPER database from 1980 to 2013. The first results show 34 interesting papers published in different Italian journals, especially in the 2000s. These papers are published in a wide range of journals and show a predominantly practical tendency in which both quantitative and qualitative studies are welcome. Studies related to the first stream of literature argue the diffusion of PMSs as tech-niques and the peculiarities of strategic cost management systems. Further devel-opment categorized in the second stream of literature describes in-depth relation-ships, benefiting from certain topics understudied nowadays in the national debate. Evidence of the influence of economia aziendale on some papers belonging to both the two streams emerges.

Keywords: Performance Management System, Strategy, Italian Journal, Literature. Review

Table 2 Bassani Cattaneo


Web reputation and performance measurement systems in the hotel industry: An exploratory study in Italy

This research, which focuses on web reputation in the hotel industry, aims to understand hotel managers’ practices in monitoring travellers’ opinions disclosed on travel websites and online travel agencies. Results from a web survey administered to Italian hotel managers and owners highlight the great importance attributed to web reputation and describe the type and frequency of controls as well as how the information collected from the Internet is used to support performance evaluation and managers’ decision-making.

Keywords: web reputation, online reviews, intangibles, online room booking channels, decision making, User Generated Content (UGC)

Table 2 Aureli Supino


A field study of Value-Based Management sophistication: The role of shareholders

This paper responds to the call for more diffusion-theoretic work on sophistication and disposal of Value-Based Management (VBM) (Ansari et al., 2010). In particular, we examine how rational and social factors affect the VBM multidimensional construct sophistication and disposal (Burkert and Lueg, 2013). Our research is based on a longitudinal case study (Yin, 2003) of a private held Italian company. The results provide interesting findings on how shareholder characteristics and top management team (TMT) background influence VBM sophistication, as well as how little can be worthwhile to consider rational and social factors separately, since these factors have a “combined effect” in determining sophistication and disposal. While strategy and organizational structure are the main determinants of the potential of VBM sophistication (potential information needs), ownership structure and TMT background represent the precondition for VBM implementation. Technology and perceived environmental uncertainty affect negatively VBM sophistication.

Keywords: Value-Based Management sophistication, social and rational factors, shareholder, Top Management Team, management accounting practice diffusion.


Capitalizing and controlling development projects as joint translations. The mediating role of the information technology

For internationally operating firms, development costs can be capitalized under specific conditions required by IAS 38. Some conditions refer to the “ability to measure reliably the expenditure attributable to the intangible asset during its de-velopment.”. To verify those conditions, appropriate Information Technology (IT) and organizational procedures may be adopted within the organization.
Introduced for translating IAS 38, IT may enable the control of development pro-jects and processes. This occurs to the extent that IT has the power to attract differ-ent agencies.
Drawing on ANT inspired literature, we translate Quattrone and Hopper’s (2006) conceptualization of IT as a heteromogeneous object, which relies on an object’s combination of being a ‘fact’ and an attractor. The theoretical arguments inform a case study on the control of development projects at STMicroelectronics, a multi-national company operating in the semiconductor industry.
The case evidences show how capitalizing and controlling development projects are jointly translated though the mediation of IT. Moreover, the case highlights how controls of development projects are systems of conjunctions among behav-iour, accounting and personnel controls which mediate among the organizational actors involved in development projects.

Keywords: development projects, information technology, translation.


Accrual accounting and performance measurement: Empirical evidences from two Italian municipalities

In the last years, the introduction of advanced management systems in local governments, through a substantial renewal process of these entities, has generated a new debate in literature in reference to the effects produced by the implementation of such management tools typically applied to the private sector.
In particular, this paper aims to explore the way in which the use of accrual accounting supports performance measurement tools used by local governments, adopting the Resource-based view approach.
Considered the debate on the effects related to the introduction of the accrual accounting system and the role of accounting information to measure performance in the local governments, it has been conducted a comparative analysis of two Italian municipalities in order to identify the relationship between these two management tools.
Case analysis highlighted the fact that accrual accounting system does not always support a more complete process of performance measurement and competences and organization’s resources in the use of accounting data and information affect this process. Results also show that the introduction and use of managerial systems require a profound change of organizational culture which should be accepted by most of the members of the organization.

Keywords: performance measurement, local government, accrual accounting, resource-based view.


L’evoluzione degli studi di management control: un percorso nel segno della varietà


Varietà. E’ questa una delle possibili chiavi di lettura dell’evoluzione conosciuta dagli studi di management control. A cinquant’anni dal lavoro di Anthony (1965), le traiettorie di ricerca tracciate dagli Studiosi sono state molteplici e hanno investito vari aspetti del controllo, conducendo ad un graduale e progressivo ampliamento dei confini di una disciplina che sembra essere nel pieno del suo percorso evolutivo. E’ una varietà, quella richiamata, che investe temi, approcci e contesti. Dal lato dei temi, è rimarcabile l’intenzione di ampliare la prospettiva di analisi del management control estendendone l’osservazione oltre la tradizionale visione di sistema a supporto delle decisioni attinenti alla gestione operativa. L’affermazione di filoni di studio sul controllo strategico, sul controllo organizzativo, sul capitale intellettuale, su ICT, business analytics e big data e sulle funzioni e sul ruolo del controller testimonia la tensione verso un’interpretazione sempre più ampia del ruolo e delle funzioni ascrivibili al sistema di controllo. Interpretazione che ha condotto al rapido proliferare di soluzioni informative, contabili e/o extra-contabili, che hanno, a loro volta, favorito l’avvio di nuovi filoni di studio focalizzati sui benefici e sulle criticità scaturenti dall’implementazione delle stesse oltre che sugli impatti organizzativi derivanti dal loro utilizzo. Dal lato degli approcci, la varietà degli studi trova conferma nella molteplicità di metodologie e metodi di ricerca impiegati. […]




The Role of Professionalization and Managerialization in Family Business Succession

This paper aims to analyze the role of professionalization (the involvement of professional non-family managers) and of managerialization (the use of managerial mechanisms) in the family firm’s succession process. In the light of the scarce literature on such issues, it aims to “open the black box”, giving some insights on the relationship between the involvement of non-family managers, the use of managerial mechanisms, such as strategic planning (SP) and management control systems (MCSs), and family business succession. This is an explorative paper aimed at developing a theoretical framework on the outlined issues. The research method is based on the longitudinal analysis of a case study of a European medium-sized family firm, that made different choices in terms of: 1) how to cope with the family succession, 2) the involvement of non-family members, and 3) the role assigned to SP and MCSs. The longitudinal analysis of the case study shows that non-family professional managers may have a relevant role in the family firm’s succession, but in particular former employees of the company. A significant role of both family and firm governance mechanisms is also showed. Instead, managerial mechanisms, such as SP and MCSs, are introduced mostly to cope with firm’s and environment’s complexity and agency conflicts. Consistently with research findings, we propose a research framework, articulated in a few propositions, concerning the role of professionalization and managerialization in helping family firms to overcome generation succession.

JEL Classification: M10, M11, M13, M40


Business succession and Intellectual Capital Management in family firms

Family businesses are institutions in which two seemingly disparate social units (i.e., families and businesses) are highly integrated. This connection extends to succession across generations and while natural, this can be a difficult process. The founder, thanks to his long stay in the family business, has a substantial amount of tacit knowledge related to the firm which can often determine business success. In the succession process it is important to diffuse and manage overall knowledge, or intellectual capital, to the successor. This study attempts to contribute to the literature casting some light on the business succession in a family firm informed by an intellectual capital perspective. Starting from these theoretical principles, through a case study analysis approach, the research investigates how human and relational resources are managed in the business succession process and how the process is communicated to the external environment and therefore how small family firms can maintain and increase their competitive advantage thus reducing the risk of failure during the succession process.

JEL Classification: M10, M12, M13, M40


ICT e piccole imprese. Il Cubo della Predisposizione Tecnologica Aziendale

ICT and small businesses. The Cube of Corporate Technological Level

The ability to use ICT to handle, process and use business data, as well as to develop new tools to support process management and control functions, is an essential condition for small businesses’ competitiveness. Important differences in ICT adoption rates between large and small firms have been identified, but it is important to properly assess the technological position of small businesses (SB), in order to reflect different ICT development paths. For this reason this paper presents a three-dimensional assessment framework – named Cube of the Corporate Technological Level (CCTL) – which allows evaluating businesses’ technological position using three different dimensions. Some case studies are briefly described in order to illustrate the ability of the model to reflect differences between enterprises with different technological positions. This tool enables companies to properly assess their technological position as well as their potential and existing weaknesses. It also allows choosing future ICT investments, as it can help to outline the path to follow for reaching a position of optimum technological development.

JEL Classification: M10, M11, M15, M40