European Business Schools Librarian's Group

IESE Research Papers,
IESE Business School

No D/563: The ethics of management control systems

Josep M. Rosanas () and Manuel Velilla
Additional contact information
Josep M. Rosanas: IESE Business School, Postal: Research Division, Av Pearson 21, 08034 Barcelona, SPAIN
Manuel Velilla: IESE Business School, Postal: Research Division, Av Pearson 21, 08034 Barcelona, SPAIN

Abstract: In this paper we review the conventional analyses of management control systems, to conclude, first, that the "illusion of control" can mislead managers into believing that everything can be controlled and monitored, and , second, that no incentive system based only on extrinsic rewards can motivate individuals properly. Then, we investigate the philosophical foundations of the basic assumptions that, implicitly or explicitly, are made about the nature of the acting person. Based on personalist phenomenology, we show how the development of technical and moral values is crucial to the long-run survival of organizations. We end by offering some guidelines as to what control systems should be like in order to be compatible with the nature of human persons.

Keywords: business ethics; ethical foundations organization; incentives; management control systems; values

20 pages, June 21, 2004

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