Behavioral Properties of Variance Controls

by Raymond Miles, Roger Vergin



Management control designers should focus on increasing total organization control, broadening the base of self-control throughout the organization, as well as on finding more efficient control techniques. Control, measuring and maintaining performance relative to organizational goals, is clearly one of the basic functions of management. In recent years, however, managerial control practices and techniques have become the target of increasingly heavy criticism. Few, if any, of the critics question the necessity for control systems and procedures, but they claim that management has typically not concerned itself with the impact of controls on people. The critics argue that inattention to behavioral consequences results in control designs, which frequently do not achieve improved performance, which in fact may actually hinder the accomplishment of organizational objectives. Authors' investigation suggests that variance control may offer a starting point for building behaviorally sound control system. Moreover, the application of variance controls would not require a complete and dramatic departure from current approaches to control in most areas. Variance control are technically sound; in fact, much evidence suggests that they are superior to traditional control techniques in terms of the quality of information collected and the organization of this information for effective analysis.

California Management Review

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