Journal of Management Control

, Volume 23, Issue 4, pp 269–290

Conceptualisations of ‘controlling’ in German-speaking countries: analysis and comparison with Anglo-American management control frameworks

Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s00187-012-0166-7

Cite this article as:
Guenther, T.W. J Manag Control (2013) 23: 269. doi:10.1007/s00187-012-0166-7


Management control systems (MCSs) as formal, routine-based systems that help to maintain or alter organisational activities and guide the behaviour of a firm’s employees are in the focus of normative and empirical management accounting research. This article explores the different MCS conceptualisations, named ‘controlling’ approaches, that have been developed over more than 40 years in German-speaking countries. After investigating the underlying theoretical foundations, five major approaches are analysed and compared with each other. This enables readers to perceive and understand the MCS frameworks developed in a non-Anglo-American setting. The common traits and differences between these German frameworks are derived and discussed. Finally, the commonalities and differences in comparison with Anglo-American frameworks are analysed, helping scholars to understand the different traditions and practises of MCSs. The paper intends to inspire future research on common traits of MCSs across cultures and regions and to explore the impact of different national cultures or regions on the design of MCSs.


Management control systemsComparative accounting researchFrameworkControllingManagement accountingSystem theory

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Business Management and Economics Chair of Business Management, esp. Management Accounting and ControlTechnische Universität DresdenDresdenGermany