Comparative insights into management control practices in two Sri Lankan banks in the public and private sectors

Authored by: Tharusha Gooneratne , Zahirul Hoque

The Routledge Companion to Performance Management and Control

Print publication date:  August  2017
Online publication date:  August  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138913547
eBook ISBN: 9781315691374
Adobe ISBN:


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The past several decades have seen an elevated interest in the design and operation of management control systems (MCS) in organizations in both the public and private sectors. Initial insights into management control date back to the pioneering work of Robert Anthony, whose classic definition was, ‘management control is the process by which managers ensure that resources are obtained and used effectively and efficiently in the achievement of the organization’s objectives’ (Anthony, 1965, p. 27). Over the years, the notion of ‘management control’ has attracted a wide range of connotations and progressed amid the plethora of definitions. From a technical point of view, MCS are seen as analytical and calculative processes used to make decisions and achieve organizational objectives, which are focused on accounting-based controls such as budgeting (Otley, 1994, 1999). From a more contemporary sense, management control encapsulates not only formal, financially quantifiable information for managerial decision making; instead, it embraces broad-scope information with the emphasis on the entire organization and the longer term (Chenhall, 2003). Seen in this light, MCS are socially constructed phenomena within the particular context in which they operate, while being subject to wider social, economic and political pressures (Berry et al., 1985). Such a view captures the interdisciplinary nature of management control and echoes that MCS cannot be seen purely as technically rational activities divorced from broad societal relationships or from the actions of actors and other forces. The current chapter shares such sentiments.

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