Management controls, government regulations, customer involvement: Evidence from a Chinese family-owned business

Tang, Yayan (2022) Management controls, government regulations, customer involvement: Evidence from a Chinese family-owned business. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Abstract

This research reports on a case study of a family-owned elevator manufacturing company in China, where management control was sandwiched between the state policies and global customer production requirements. By analysing the role of government and customer, this thesis aimed to illustrate how management control operated in a family-owned business and to see how and why they do management control differently. In particular, it focused on how international production standards and existing Chinese industry policies translated into a set of the management control practices through a local network within the family-owned business I studied.

Based on an ethnographic approach to research, I spent six months in the field, conducted over 30 interviews, several conservations, and reviewed relevant internal documents to understand how management control (MC) techniques with humans cooperated in the company. I also understood how two layers of pressure have shaped company behaviour, and how a company located in a developing country is connecting with global network. I also found there is considerable tension among key actors and investigated how the company responded and managed it.

Drawing on Actor Network Theory (ANT), I analysed the interviews from key actors, examined the role of government regulations and customer requirements to see how management control being managed under two layers of pressure, i.e., the government regulations (e.g., labour, tax, environment control) and customer requirement (e.g., quality and production control). Management controls were an obligatory passage point (OPP), and transformation of those elements of Western production requirements and government requirements arrived at the Chinese local factory and influenced management control and budgeting.

The findings suggest that management control systems are not only a set of technical procedures, but it is also about managing tensions. This understanding shows a linear perspective on MC practices rather than a social perspective. However, when we use ANT as a theoretical perspective, we see those actors who, being obliged and sandwiched, and controlled by external forces for them to follow. Consequently, human actors must work in an unavoidable OPP. This is the tension they face which constructed mundane practices of MC. Hence, MCs are managing such tensions. This study contributes to management control research by analysing management controls in terms of OPP, extends our understanding by illustrating the role of the government and customers, and our understanding of family-owned business from a management controls perspective in a developing country.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences > Adam Smith Business School
Supervisor's Name: Wickramasinghe, Professor Danture, Guidi, Dr. Marco and Kominis, Dr. Georgios
Date of Award: 2022
Depositing User: Theses Team
Unique ID: glathesis:2022-82710
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 22 Feb 2022 14:51
Last Modified: 08 Apr 2022 16:49
Thesis DOI: 10.5525/gla.thesis.82710
URI: https://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/82710

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