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The Interactive Use of Management Control Systems and Project Performance: An Empirical Examination of IT Projects

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Title: The Interactive Use of Management Control Systems and Project Performance: An Empirical Examination of IT Projects
Author: Mir, Farzana
Department: Department of Management
Program: Management
Advisor: Rezania, Davar
Abstract: IT projects are knowledge-intensive settings that involve specific management control challenges. Although the centrality of control systems is a recognized area in project management, the evidence regarding the relationship between the interactive use of project-level management control systems (MCS) and project performance is limited, and the findings are mixed. This study aims to understand the impact of the interactive use of project-level MCS on project performance in the context of IT projects. Drawing upon organizational learning theory and focusing on the mechanism of team learning behaviour, a study model is developed explaining how the interactive use of project-level MCS affects project performance. The contextual influence of the organizations’ emphasis on process accountability is also considered. Data was collected from a cross-sectional survey of 109 IT project managers working in Canadian and USA-based organizations. Using a hierarchical component reflective-formative measurement model in Partial Least Squares Structural Equation Modelling (PLS-SEM), the analysis showed that the team learning behaviour partially mediates the relationship between the interactive use of project-level MCS and project performance. Moreover, the organization’s emphasis on process accountability moderates the relationship between the interactive use of project-level MCS and team learning behaviour. Results also showed a conditional indirect effect of the interactive use of project-level MCS on project performance with the effect being stronger under the conditions of higher emphasis on process accountability. This study makes several contributions. First, this study extends the domain of organizational learning theory by using it as a lens to explain new theoretical relationships. Second, it advances the project control literature by explaining the mechanisms through which the interactive use of project-level MCS impacts project performance. Third, it addresses the lack of empirical studies about the application of MCS frameworks at the project level. Fourth, this study applies the interactive use of MCS as a reflective-formative construct in-line with its theoretical definition. Additionally, a scale is developed to measure perceptions about the organization’s emphasis on process accountability. Finally, this study informs project managers on how to improve their project performance by focusing on their style of use of MCS and the learning behaviour of their teams.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10214/16115
Date: 2019-05
Rights: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International
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