School of Economics and Management

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PhD Defense Ms. J. Zhang, MSc

Title:The adaptation of management control systems to different agents
Supervisors: Prof. J.F.M.G. Bouwens, Prof. E. Cardinaels


Management control systems are commonly used by firms, but it is challenging to design an optimal control system because of the complexity of organizational contexts, and differences of individuals. In this dissertation, I examine how firms can make their control systems better based on individual differences.

In Chapter 2 we investigate how a car manufacturer can adjust future sales targets for individual car dealers based on his relation with the dealers, to motivate dealers to sell more cars. We expect that the manufacturer is more willing to set easier targets for dealers who consistently perform well, and consequently these dealers are more willing to exert effort. By doing so, the manufacturer can sell more cars and the car dealers can receive more discounts from the manufacturer.

Chapter 3 discusses the target setting system for customer satisfaction and employee satisfaction performance, which are important factors for sales increase. We find that firms can use the same target of customer satisfaction (employee satisfaction) for all business unit managers, to assure that customers experience similar high quality service at any business unit. We also show that firms can help managers who have insufficient customer satisfaction or employee satisfaction performance but still perform better than peers to improve their performance by granting them more budgets.

Chapter 4 explores whether supervisors are able to know their agents and adapt monitoring intensity according to the tenure and confidence level of different agents. We predict and find that supervisors impose less monitoring to well-performed junior agents so that juniors can have room to experiment and develop knowledge. We also find that monitoring increases for overconfident managers to control their risk-taking behavior. These results suggest that supervisors can indeed modify their level of direct supervision according to agent’s personal makeup and characteristics.

Location: Cobbenhagen building, Auditorium (access via Koopmans building)

Order the PhD thesis

When: 05 April 2017 16:00

Where: Route description Tilburg University campus