AC411      Half Unit
Accounting, Strategy and Control

This information is for the 2013/14 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Wim Van Der Stede OLD 2.18


This course is available on the MSc in Accounting and Finance, MSc in Accounting, Organisations and Institutions, MSc in Law and Accounting, MSc in Management, MSc in Management (CEMS MIM) and MSc in Management, Organisations and Governance. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

Other students may be admitted only with the agreement, in writing, of the MSc (Accounting) Course Tutor if they have sufficient academic background knowledge. This course cannot be taken in conjunction with AC410 Management Accounting, Strategy and Organisational Control.

Course content

This course provides an advanced overview of current theoretical and practical developments in the area of organisational control, which is an essential function of management to ensure that the organisation's objectives and strategies are carried out effectively. Good management control increases the probability of organisational success.

The course focuses on the use of results controls; that is, those that involve measurement and evaluation of financial and nonfinancial performance. As such, the course explores the key decisions that must be made in using results controls, such as choices of performance measures, performance standards and targets, and performance-based incentives. Limitations of traditional financial performance measures are discussed, such as their tendency to make managers excessively short-term oriented, which leads into related issues of corporate governance.

Although further detailed choice of subjects will be determined by the lecturer on the course, the course will cover the following topics:

• Strategy and the design of planning and control systems;
• Management control systems and organisational architecture;
• The control function of management;
• Results controls in decentralised organisations;
• Performance measurement and incentive systems;
• International differences in management control;
• Corporate governance.


20 hours of lectures and 9 hours of classes in the MT. 2 hours of lectures in the ST.

Formative coursework

A variety of types of assignments are given for class discussion including exercises and case studies. Two pieces of written work, or equivalent, are assessed, but the grades will not count towards the overall course assessment.

Indicative reading

Detailed reading lists will be given out at the start of each part of the course. Key reference: Merchant & Van der Stede, Management Control Systems: Performance Measurement, Evaluation and Incentives (Prentice Hall, 2012).


Exam (100%, duration: 1 hour and 30 minutes) in the main exam period.

Key facts

Department: Accounting

Total students 2012/13: 53

Average class size 2012/13: 19

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Leadership
  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Communication
  • Application of numeracy skills
  • Commercial awareness
  • Specialist skills