Beyond the “good” and “evil” of stability values in organizational culture for managerial innovation: the crucial role of management controls

  • Marc JankaEmail author
  • Xaver Heinicke
  • Thomas W. Guenther
Original Paper


Previous literature has widely regarded stability values in organizational culture as a necessary evil at best and proposed their reduction to shape innovation. Our study expands the literature by empirically exploring the relationship among stability values in organizational culture, management control (MC), and managerial innovation. Managerial innovation is important for every organization because it contributes to technical innovation in the long term and is directly or indirectly associated with firm performance in a positive way, but its success or failure depends on a process of diffusion through the organization as a social system. Based on a survey of 260 large German firms, we find that managerial innovation has a negative association with the degree of stability in organizational culture but a positive association with an emphasis on three of the four tested MCs, namely, action controls, personnel controls, and cultural controls. We reveal that a large extent of the negative effect ascribed to stability in organizational culture is caused by a lack of emphasis on cultural controls rather than by the degree of stability itself. Furthermore, we go beyond the assessment of stability as purely “good” or “evil” by generating empirical evidence of the positive fit between stability and cultural controls for managerial innovation, following contingency theory. According to our findings, organizations with a relatively high degree of stability in their culture (e.g., bureaucracy or hierarchy) may be enabled to shape managerial innovation through cultural controls.


Managerial innovation Management control Organizational culture Competing values framework Polynomial regression equations  Partial least squares 

JEL Classification

M12 M14 O35 



This paper is part of a larger research program. We are grateful to Stefanie Einhorn, Jan Endrikat, Bernhard Fietz, Edeltraud Guenther, Takehisa Kajiwara, Hirotsugu Kitada, Katsuhiko Kokubu, Kimitaka Nishitani, Matthias Walz, and Qi Wu, who contributed to the survey design and collection of raw data for the entire research program, from which we use some variables for our study. Earlier drafts of this paper were presented at the 9th EIASM Conference on Performance Measurement and Management Control in Nice (France 2017), at the 40th European Accounting Association Conference in Valencia (Spain 2017), the Management Control Association Conference in Groningen (The Netherlands 2017), and the 14th Annual Conference for Management Accounting Research in Vallendar (Germany 2017). We acknowledge the helpful comments from all the participants, especially Klaus Derfuss and Stephen Jollands. Finally, we thank the editor Ralf Ewert and two anonymous reviewers for their constructive suggestions and guidance.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Business and EconomicsTechnische Universität DresdenDresdenGermany

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