Purpose The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many organisations to transform face-to-face teams into virtual ones through the adoption of remote working modes. This event has represented the starting point of a process that is changing how management control (MC) systems are designed and implemented to guide employees towards organisational objectives. The previous literature on virtual teams (VTs) has devoted scant attention to MC issues. This study aims to fill this gap by exploring how MC – and particularly cultural control – has changed to cope with the shift from face-to-face to VTs and by analysing the interrelationship between the different control mechanisms and the resulting tensions. Design/methodology/approach The research adopts the methodological framework based on abduction to provide a theoretical explanation and conceptualisation of MC in virtual settings. To tackle the research objective, this work undertakes a cross-sectional field study based on semi-structured interviews with managers of different service companies. Findings The results of the research highlight the key challenges that managers are called to deal with to design and change MC systems when implementing remote working. In particular, managers must cope with the reduced possibility to leverage cultural controls. To do this, this study’s analysis found that managers act by introducing and/or removing formal and informal controls and by orchestrating the interplays and tensions between these mechanisms. Originality/value To the best of the authors’ knowledge, to date limited attention has been paid to MC in VTs. Moreover, few researchers have investigated the process of MC change from face-to-face to VTs. This work aims to contribute to this nascent stream of literature by providing interesting implications for both research and practice.

Adapting management control to virtual teams: evidence from a natural experiment

guido noto
;
carmelo marisca;gustavo barresi
In corso di stampa

Abstract

Purpose The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many organisations to transform face-to-face teams into virtual ones through the adoption of remote working modes. This event has represented the starting point of a process that is changing how management control (MC) systems are designed and implemented to guide employees towards organisational objectives. The previous literature on virtual teams (VTs) has devoted scant attention to MC issues. This study aims to fill this gap by exploring how MC – and particularly cultural control – has changed to cope with the shift from face-to-face to VTs and by analysing the interrelationship between the different control mechanisms and the resulting tensions. Design/methodology/approach The research adopts the methodological framework based on abduction to provide a theoretical explanation and conceptualisation of MC in virtual settings. To tackle the research objective, this work undertakes a cross-sectional field study based on semi-structured interviews with managers of different service companies. Findings The results of the research highlight the key challenges that managers are called to deal with to design and change MC systems when implementing remote working. In particular, managers must cope with the reduced possibility to leverage cultural controls. To do this, this study’s analysis found that managers act by introducing and/or removing formal and informal controls and by orchestrating the interplays and tensions between these mechanisms. Originality/value To the best of the authors’ knowledge, to date limited attention has been paid to MC in VTs. Moreover, few researchers have investigated the process of MC change from face-to-face to VTs. This work aims to contribute to this nascent stream of literature by providing interesting implications for both research and practice.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11570/3266908
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