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2) Explain some factors which may influence top management style and the implication
of the top management style on management control.

The management control function in an organization is influenced by the style of senior


management. The style of the chief executive officer affects the management control process in
the entire organization. Similarly, the style of the business unit manager affects the unit's
management control process, and the style of functional department managers affects the
management control process in their functional areas.

 Differences in Management Styles


Managers manage differently. Some rely heavily on reports and certain formal documents; others
prefer conversations and informal contacts. Some are analytical; others use trial and error. Some
are risk takers; others are risk averse. Some are process oriented; others are results oriented.
Some are long-term oriented; others are short-term oriented. Some emphasize monetary rewards;
others emphasize a broader set of rewards.

Management style is influenced by the manager's background and personality. Background


includes things like age, formal education, and experience in a given function, such as
manufacturing, technology, marketing, or finance. Personality characteristics include such
variables as the manager's willingness to take risks and his or her tolerance for ambiguity.

 Implications for Management Control


The various dimensions of management style significantly influence the operation of the control
systems. Even if the same reports with the same set of data go with the same frequency to the
CEO, two CEOs with different styles would use these reports very differently to manage the
business units.

Style affects the management control process – how the CEO prefers to use the information,
conducts performance review meetings, and so on – which in turn affects how the control system
actually operates, even if the formal structure does not change under a new CEO. In fact, when
CEOs change, subordinates typically infer what the new CEO really wants based on how he or she
interacts during the management control process.
 Personal versus Impersonal Controls
Presence of personal versus impersonal controls in organizations is an aspect of managerial style.
Managers differ on how much importance they attach to formal budgets and reports as well as
informal conversations and other personal contacts. Some managers are "numbers oriented"; they
want a large flow of quantitative information, and they spend much time analyzing this
information and deriving tentative conclusions from it. Other managers are "people oriented";
they look at a few numbers, but they usually arrive at their conclusions by talking with people,
judging the relevance and importance of what they learn partly on their appraisal of the other
person. They visit various locations and spend time talking with both supervisors and staff to get
a sense of how well things are going.

Managers' attitudes toward formal reports affect the amount of detail they want, the frequency of
these reports, and even their preference for graphs rather than tables of numbers, and whether
they want numerical reports supplemented with written comments. Designers of management
control systems need to identify these preferences and accommodate them.

 Tight versus Loose Controls


A manager's style affects the degree of tight versus loose control in any situation. The manager of
a routine production responsibility center can be controlled relatively tightly or loosely, and the
actual control reflects the style of the manager's superior. Thus, the degree of tightness or
looseness often is not revealed by the content of the forms or aspects of the formal control
documents, rules, or procedures. It is a factor of how these formal devices are used. The degree of
looseness tends to increase at successively higher levels in the organization hierarchy: higher-
level managers typically tend to pay less attention to details and more to overall results.

The style of the CEO has a profound impact on management control. If a new senior manager
with a different style takes over, the system tends to change correspondingly. It might happen that
the manager's style is not a good fit with the organization's management control requirements. If
the manager recognizes this incongruity and adapts his or her style accordingly, the problem
disappears. If, however, the manager is unwilling or unable to change, the organization will
experience performance problems. The solution in this case might be to change the manager.