Management control systems and research management in universities. / Agyemang, Gloria; Broadbent, Jane.

In: Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal, Vol. 28, No. 7, AAAJ-11-2013-1531, 21.09.2015, p. 1018-1046.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review





This paper examines the management control systems developed by universities and groups within them, to manage research within UK University Business and Management Schools. Specifically, the paper analyses changes universities make to their internal management control systems in response to an externally imposed regulatory system.

Empirically, the paper considers the UK Research Excellence Framework and the previous Research Assessment Exercises, and builds on previous literature that has the recognised the perverse outcomes of such systems. It argues that these derive from the management control systems developed by universities to performance manage academics and to ensure that they benefit from the resource allocations that result from the assessments.
The study finds that the new management control systems contribute to even greater controls over individuals’ research activities than that intended from the Research Excellence Framework. These new systems are accepted by some academics although they encourage movement away from previously held academic values.

This study contributes to debates about the dysfunctional impacts of the use of performance measures to manage research. Its originality lies in explaining that the management control systems developed to resist the imposition of external performance measurement systems may lead to symbolic violence where participants become involved with their own subjugation.

Management control systems, performance management systems, performance measures, universities, research, symbolic violence

Article Classification:
Research paper
Original languageEnglish
Article numberAAAJ-11-2013-1531
Pages (from-to)1018-1046
Number of pages29
JournalAccounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal
Issue number7
Early online date10 Aug 2015
Publication statusPublished - 21 Sep 2015
This open access research output is licenced under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

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