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Motivating Behavior in Management Accounting and Control Systems. Chapter 8. Management Accounting and Control Systems. Chapter 7 discussed the technical characteristics of a well-designed management accounting and control system

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Motivating Behavior in Management Accounting and Control Systems

Chapter 8


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Management Accountingand Control Systems

  • Chapter 7 discussed the technical characteristics of a well-designed management accounting and control system

  • A major role for control systems is to motivate behavior congruent with the desires of the organization since human interests and motivation can vary significantly


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Major Behavioral Considerations

  • Embedding the organization’s ethical code of conduct into MACS design

  • Using a mix of short and long-term qualitative and quantitative performance measures

  • Empowering employees to be involved in decision making and MACS design

  • Developing an appropriate incentive system to reward performance


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Impact of MACS on Behavior

  • Many managers try to implement new systems without considering the behavioral implications and consequences of a MACS

  • Negative consequences:

    • Goal congruence may not occur

    • Motivation could be low

    • Employees may be encouraged to engage in dysfunctional behavior


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Human Resource ModelOf Motivation (HRMM)

  • Contemporary management view of motivation

  • Based on initiatives to improve the quality of working life and the strong influence of Japanese management practices

  • Introduces a high level of employee responsibility for and participation in decisions in the work environment

  • Serves as the basis for the presentation of the four behavioral considerations in MACS design


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Central Assumptions ofHRMM

  • Organizations operate under a system of beliefs about the values, purpose, and direction of their organization

  • People find work enjoyable and desire to participate in:

    • Developing objectives

    • Making decisions

    • Attaining goals in their work environment

  • Individuals are motivated by both financial and nonfinancial means of compensation


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Central Assumptions ofthe HRMM

  • Employees have a great deal of knowledge and information about their jobs, the application of which will improve the way they perform tasks and benefit the organization as a whole

  • Individuals are highly creative, ethical, and responsible

  • Employees desire opportunities to effect change in their organizations


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Ethical Code of Conductand MACS Design

  • A set of ethical principles is at the center of many boundary systems

  • MACS should incorporate the principles of an organization’s code of ethical conduct

  • MACS that incorporates ethical principles can provide decision makers with guidance as they face ethical dilemmas


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Pressures Affecting a MACS

  • Managers are often subject to intense pressures from their job circumstances and from other influential organizational members to suspend their ethical judgment in certain situations

  • These pressures include the following requests:

    • to tailor information to favor particular individuals or groups

    • to falsify reports or test results

    • for confidential information

    • to ignore questionable or unethical practices


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Ethics and Management Accountants

  • Management accountants are guided by the organization’s code of ethical conduct and the ethical standards of their professional associations

  • Management accountants often play a significant role in MACS design, which should reflect their professional standards


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Incorporating Ethics intoa MACS Design

  • To incorporate ethical principles into the design of a MACS, designers might attempt to ensure the following:

    • That the organization has formulated, implemented, and communicated to all employees a comprehensive code of ethics

    • That all employees understand the organization’s code of ethics and the boundary systems that constrain behavior

    • That a system exists to detect and report violations of the organization’s code of ethics


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Avoiding Ethical Dilemmas

  • Most organizations attempt to address ethical considerations and avoid ethical dilemmas by developing a code of ethics

  • Ethical considerations:

    • Legal rules

    • Societal norms

    • Professional memberships

    • Organizational/group norms

    • Personal norms

This hierarchy is listed in descending order of authority


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Ethical Hierarchy

  • An action that is prohibited by law should be unacceptable by society, by one’s profession, by the organization, and then by each individual

  • An action that is legally and socially acceptable may be professionally unacceptable and unacceptable to the organization and its employees


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Dealing With Ethical Conflicts

  • A decision maker may face an ethical conflict when the individual’s code of ethics sets a higher standard than the organization’s

  • Organizations that formulate and support specific and unambiguous ethical codes create an environment that reduces ethical conflicts

  • One step is to maintain a hierarchy of authority


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Role of Senior Management

  • A critical variable that can reduce ethical conflicts is the way that the chief executive and other senior managers behave and conduct business

  • If these individuals demonstrate exemplary behavior, other organizational members will have role models to emulate

  • Organizations whose leaders evince unethical behavior cannot expect their employees to behave according to high ethical standards


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Conflicts within a Code of Ethics

  • When organizations develop a formal code of ethics, they can create the potential for explicit ethical conflicts to arise with the code itself

  • The conflicts that appear most in practice are those between the organization’s code of ethics and:

    • The law

    • Common societal expectations

    • The individual’s set of personal and professional ethics

  • Other conflicts relate to personal values and norms of behavior that were acceptable prior to the adoption of the organization’s new code of ethics but that are now in question


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Conflict Between Individual andOrganizational Values(1 of 3)

  • If the organization’s code of ethics is more stringent than an individual’s code, conflicts may arise, but if adherence to the organization’s ethical code is required and enforced


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Conflict Between Individual andOrganizational Values

  • Issues may arise when the individual’s personal code of ethics prohibits certain types of behavior that are legal, socially acceptable, professionally acceptable, and acceptable to the organization

  • Potential for conflict in such situations is heightened when the action that is unacceptable to the individual is desirable to the organization

  • The organization may require that the person do things that he or she finds unacceptable


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Conflict with Stated Values

  • Employees may observe management, even senior management, engaging in unethical behavior

  • This type of conflict is the most difficult because the organization is misrepresenting its ethical system

  • The employee is in a position of drawing attention to the problem by being a whistle-blower


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Conflict with Stated Values

  • Experts who have studied this problem advise that the individual should determine:

    • That the facts are correct

    • That a conflict exists between the organization’s stated ethical policy and the actions of its employees in practice

    • Whether this conflict is institutional or reflects the decisions and actions of only a small minority of employees

  • Most experts recommend that the employee work with respected leaders in the organization to change the discrepancy between practiced and stated ethics


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Conflict with Stated Values

  • Other potential courses of action include:

    • Point out the discrepancy to a superior and refuse to act unethically

    • Point out the discrepancy to a superior and act unethically

    • Take the discrepancy to a mediator in the organization, if one exists

    • Go outside the organization to publicly resolve the issue


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Conflict with Stated Values

  • Go outside the organization anonymously to resolve the issue

  • Resign and go public to resolve the issue

  • Resign and remain silent

  • Do nothing, hoping that the problem vanishes


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Conflict with Stated Values

  • If the organization is serious about its stated code of ethics, it should have an effective ethics control system to ensure and provide evidence that the organization’s stated and practiced ethics are the same, including a means for employees to point out inconsistencies and to protect those employees


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Effective Ethical Control

  • To promote ethical decision making, an ethical control system should include the following:

    • A statement of the organization’s values and code of ethics written in practical terms, with examples that the employees can relate to their individual jobs

    • A clear statement of the employee’s ethical responsibilities for every job description and a specific review of the employee’s ethical performance as part of every performance review

    • Adequate training to help employees identify ethical dilemmas in practice and learn how to deal with those they can reasonably expect to face


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Effective Ethical Control

  • Evidence that senior management expects members to adhere to its code of ethics, meaning that management must:

    • Provide a statement of the consequences of violating the organization’s code of ethics

    • Establish a means of dealing with violations of the organization’s code of ethics promptly, ruthlessly, and consistently according to the statement of consequences

    • Provide visible support of ethical decision making at every opportunity

    • Provide a private line of communication (without retribution) from employees directly to the chief executive officer, chief operating officer, head of human resource management, or someone else on the board of directors


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Effective Ethical Control

  • Evidence that employees can make ethical decisions or report violations of the organizations stated ethics (be the whistle-blower) without fear of reprisals from superiors, subordinates, or peers

  • An ongoing internal audit of the efficacy of the organization’s ethical control system

  • Formal training is part of the process of promoting ethical decision making


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    Motivation

    • In addition to fostering ethical behavior, a central issue in MACS design is how to motivate appropriate behavior at work

    • When designing jobs and specific tasks, system designers should consider the following three dimensions of motivation:

      • Direction

      • Intensity

      • Persistence


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    Goal Congruence

    • Goal congruence - the organization and its employees align their respective goals

    • The alignment of goals occurs as employees:

      • Perform their jobs well and are helping to achieve organizational objectives, and

      • Are attaining their individual goals at the same time


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    Diagnostic Control Systems

    • Even if goals are aligned, different types of tasks require different levels of skill, precision, responsibility, initiative, and uncertainty

    • In most situations, managers try to establish systems that they do not have to personally monitor on a regular basis

    • These are called diagnostic control systems


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    Interactive Control Systems

    • If there is a large degree of strategic uncertainty, managers spend much more time monitoring the decisions and actions of their subordinates

    • These are called interactive control systems

    • At the core of both systems are two common methods of control: task and results control


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    Task Control

    • Task control is the process of finding ways to control behavior so that a job is completed in a pre-specified manner

    • Task control can be broken down into two categories:

      • Preventive control

      • Monitoring


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    Task Control

    • Task control is most appropriate when:

      • There are legal requirements to follow specific rules or procedures to protect public safety

      • Employees handle liquid or other precious assets

      • The organization can control its environment and eliminate uncertainty and the need for judgment


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    Results Control

    • Results control methods focus on measuring employee performance against stated objectives

    • The organization must have clearly defined objectives, communicated them to appropriate organization members, and designed performance measures consistent with the objectives


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    Results Control

    • Results control is most effective when:

      • Organization members understand the organization’s objectives and their contribution to those objectives

      • Organization members have the knowledge and skill to respond to changing situations by taking corrective actions and making sound decisions

      • The performance measurement system is designed to assess individual contributions so that an individual can be motivated to take action and make decisions that reflect their own and the organization’s best interests


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    Need For MultiplePerformance Measures

    • The ways in which organizations measure performance send signals to all employees and stakeholders about what the organization considers as its priorities

    • Using multiple measures of performance helps employees focus on several dimensions of their jobs rather than just keying in on one dimension


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    Behavior Not Goal-Congruent

    • Occasionally employees are so motivated to achieve a single goal that they engage in dysfunctional behavior:

      • Gaming the performance indicator

      • Data falsification

      • Smoothing (a form of earnings management)


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    Encouraging The Desired Behavior

    • Boundary systems give employees a clear understanding of what is considered appropriate and inappropriate behavior

    • Organizations may also design performance measurement systems that encourage the desired behavior

    • Use multiple performance measures to reflect the complexities of the work environment


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    Using A Mix OfPerformance Measures

    • MACS designers need to expand their views of the kinds of performance measures to use

    • Need for measures of quality, speed to market, cycle time, flexibility, complexity, innovation, and productivity

    • New realities: the movement from “tall” organizations to “flat” organizations


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    MACS Design:Empowering Employees

    • Empowering employees in MACS design requires two essential elements:

      • Allowing employees to participate in decision making

      • Ensuring that employees understand the information they are using and generating


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    Participation In Decision Making

    • Research has suggested that employees who participate in decision making feel greater morale and job satisfaction

    • In most industries, people still perform the majority of work and have superior information:

    • MACS designers should enlist the participation of employees


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    Understanding Information

    • Empowering employees requires ensuring that they understand the information they use and on which they are evaluated

    • Employees at all levels must understand the organization’s performance measures and the way they are computed in order to be able to take actions that lead to superior performance

    • Employees have to be constantly re-educated as the system and its performance measures change


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    Incentive Systems

    • Types of reward systems to motivate employees:

      • Intrinsic rewards

      • Extrinsic rewards

      • Organizations use many systems of financial rewards

    • Theories of motivation:

      • Expectancy theory

      • Agency theory

      • Goal setting theory


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    Intrinsic Rewards

    • Come from within an individual and reflect:

      • Satisfaction from doing the job

      • Growth opportunities the job provides

      • the nature of the organization and type of work performed

    • Design jobs and develop a culture that lead employees to derive intrinsic rewards

    • Not affected by management accounting information


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    Extrinsic Rewards

    • Any reward that one person provides another to recognize a job well done

      • Based on assessed performance

      • Reinforce the notion that employees have distinguished themselves within the organization

    • Extrinsic rewards may reinforce the perception that wages compensate the employee for a minimally acceptable effort and that the organization must use additional rewards to motivate the employee to provide additional effort


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    Intrinsic v. Extrinsic Rewards

    • Many compensation experts believe that organizations have not made enough use of intrinsic rewards

    • Some argue that people who expect to receive a reward for completing a task successfully do not perform as well as those who expect no reward


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    Intrinsic v. Extrinsic Rewards

    • Most organizations ignore the role of intrinsic rewards in motivation and blindly accept the view that only financial extrinsic rewards motivate employees

      • Many people believe that financial extrinsic rewards are both necessary and sufficient to motivate superior performance

    • Both systematic and anecdotal evidence suggest:

      • Financial extrinsic rewards are not necessary to create effective organizations

      • Performance rewards do not necessarily create them


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    Intrinsic v. Extrinsic Rewards

    • Some argue that any incentive compensation program is unacceptable

      • They suggest that organizations must strive to be excellent to survive in a competitive world

      • Superior and committed performance is necessary for all employees and is part of the contract of employment and does not merit additional pay

    • Many organizations rely on extrinsic monetary rewards to motivate performance


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    Incentive Compensation

    • Incentive compensation reward systems provide monetary (extrinsic) rewards based on measured results

      • Pay-for-performance systems

      • Base rewards on achieving or exceeding some measured performance

    • Require performance measurement systems that gather relevant and reliable performance information

    • Based on absolute performance, performance relative to some plan, or performance relative to that of some comparable group


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    Absolute Performance

    • Measures of absolute performance include:

      • The number of acceptable quality units produced

      • The organization’s results

      • The organization’s share price performance


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    Relative Performance

    • Rewards based on relative performance are those tied to the following:

      • The ability to exceed a performance target level

      • The amount of a bonus pool

      • The degree to which performance exceeds the average performance level of a comparable group


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    Effective Performance Measurement

    • Six attributes must be in place for a measurement system to motivate desired performance

      • Employees must understand their jobs and the reward system and believe that it measures what they control and contribute to the organization

      • Designers of the performance measurement system must make a careful choice about whether it measures employees’ inputs or outputs


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    Effective Performance Measurement

    • The elements of performance that the performance measurement system monitors and rewards should reflect the organization’s critical success factors

    • The reward system must set clear standards for performance that employees accept

    • The measurement system must be calibrated so that it can accurately assess performance

    • When it is critical that employees coordinate decision making and other activities with other employees, the reward system should reward group, rather than individual, performance


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    Conditions FavoringIncentive Compensation

    • Incentive compensation systems work best in organizations in which employees have the skill and authority to react to conditions and make decisions

    • When the organization has empowered its employees to make decisions, it can use incentive compensation systems to motivate appropriate decision-making behavior


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    Incentive Compensation AndEmployee Responsibility

    • The incentive compensation system must focus primarily on outcomes that the employee controls or influences

    • Employees’ incentive compensation should reflect the nature of their responsibilities in the organization

    • A mix of rewarding both short and long-term outcomes is consistent with the goals of the balanced scorecard approach


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    Rewarding Outcomes

    • Incentive compensation schemes tie rewards to the outputs of employee performance rather than to inputs such as their level of effort

    • Incentive compensation based on outcomes requires that organization members understand and contribute to the organization’s objectives


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    Input-Based Compensation

    • Rewards may be based on inputs when:

      • It is impossible to measure outcomes consistently

      • Outcomes are affected by factors beyond the employee’s control

      • Outcomes are expensive to measure

    • Input-based compensation measures the employee’s time, knowledge, and skill level

    • Many organizations use some form of knowledge-based remuneration


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    Managing Incentive Plans

    • Considerable evidence indicates that organizations have mismanaged incentive compensation plans, particularly those for senior executives

    • Experts debate whether compensation systems motivate goal-seeking behavior and whether they are efficient


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    Managing Incentive Plans

    • Some studies show a positive correlation between executive compensation and shareholder wealth

    • Other studies report finding no, or even a negative, correlation between organization performance and executive compensation

    • Many professionals argue that the amounts are excessive and reflect high status rather than performance

    • The issue of fairness has also surfaced


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    Types Of Incentive Plans

    • Most common incentive compensation plans: cash bonuses, profit sharing, gainsharing, stock options, performance shares stock, stock appreciation rights, participation units, and employee stock ownership plans

    • Types of group compensation plans:

      • Those that rely on internal measures

      • Those that rely on performance of the organization’s share price in the stock market

      • Management accountants get involved in the first group


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    Cash Bonus

    • A cash bonus plan pays cash based on some measured performance

    • Cash bonuses can be:

      • Fixed in amount (triggered when measured performance exceeds the target) or proportional to the level of performance relative to the target

      • Based on individual or group performance

      • Paid to individuals or groups


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    Profit Sharing

    • A cash bonus calculated as a percentage of an organization unit’s reported profit

    • A group incentive compensation plan focused on short-term performance

    • All profit-sharing plans define:

      • What portion of the organization’s reported profits is available for sharing

      • The sharing formula

      • The employees who are eligible to participate in the plan

      • The formula for each employee’s share


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    Gainsharing

    • Gainsharing is a system for distributing cash bonuses from a pool when the total amount available is a function of performance relative to some target

    • Gainsharing is a group incentive that usually:

      • Provides for the sharing of financial gains in organizational performance

      • Applies to a group of employees within an organization unit, such as a department or a store

    • Gainsharing promotes teamwork and participation in decision making


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    Stock Option Plans

    • A stock option is the right to purchase a unit of the organizations stock at a specified price, called the option price

    • A common approach to option pricing is to set the option price at about 105% of the stock’s market price at the time the organization issues the stock option


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    Other Stock-Related Plans

    • Organizations use many other forms of stock-related incentive compensation plans

    • These plans provide incentive compensation to the participants when the stock price increases

    • They are designed to motivate employees to act in the long-term interests of the organization by acting so as to increase its market (stock) value


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