Accounting & Statistics BSc

Management Control Systems ACCFIN4004

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: Adam Smith Business School
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 1
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

In the face of increased competition, technological advancements, organisational experiments and economic globalisation, the design and implementation of management control systems that can fulfil their dual decision facilitating and behaviour influencing role in organisations is a challenging undertaking. On the basis of an extended case study, this course engages with a number of theoretical frameworks, such as contingency theory, transaction cost economics and expectancy-valence theory to analyse the design of management control systems (MCS) and understand the interaction between the MCS and managerial behaviour.


30 hours of lectures (10 x 3 hours) plus 4 hours of tutorials (4 x 1 hours).

Excluded Courses

ACCFIN4004 - Accounting for Management Control (superseded)





Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? Not applicable

Reassessments are normally available for all courses, except those which contribute to the Honours classification. For non Honours courses, students are offered reassessment in all or any of the components of assessment if the satisfactory (threshold) grade for the overall course is not achieved at the first attempt. This is normally grade D3 for undergraduate students and grade C3 for postgraduate students. Exceptionally it may not be possible to offer reassessment of some coursework items, in which case the mark achieved at the first attempt will be counted towards the final course grade. Any such exceptions for this course are described below.

Course Aims

Aims of the course are to:

1. Offer a stimulating approach to the understanding of how control systems are designed, implemented and operated in different organisational and environmental contexts.

2. Provide the students with the opportunity to develop confidence and skills in applying management control techniques and evaluate the impact of such applications on the decision making and behaviour of organisational participants.

3. Offer insights on the interplay between MCSs and other systems within the wider organisational context (e.g., transfer pricing systems, strategic investment appraisal systems, feed forward learning systems, etc.) and the demands they place on the design and implementation of MCSs in practice.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

After completing the course, the students will be able to:

1. apply technical skills in analysing a range of management accounting and control issues and interpret their effects on the behaviour of organisational participants;

2. critically evaluate alternative perspectives on control and the role of different management control apparatuses in the management of organisations;

3. identify the elements comprising management control systems (MCSs) and explain the relationships between them;

4. explain the scope of financial and non-financial control systems within MCSs, critically discuss their role in performance management and strategy execution and recognise the potential defects and the potential dangers associated with an exclusive reliance on accounting performance measures;

5. critically discuss the design and application of management control systems in different organisational settings, judge the persistence of dysfunctional behaviour in misreporting performance measures, and critically evaluate alternative ways to attempt to offset adverse to offset adverse behavioural consequences of management control systems;

6. demonstrate the ability of critical reflection of the literature in the preparation of an academic piece of coursework (individual essay);

7. work collaboratively in a group to produce a practical piece of coursework (group project).

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits