Research Program

The CPA International Research Chair in Management Control produces work that meets academic standards while keeping the relevance of its research for practitioners, students and citizens at the center of its concerns. Its research program mainly revolves around three topics:

  • The study of innovative management control and cost management practices;
  • The study of the issues and impacts regarding the dissemination of such mechanisms in non-profit organizations;
  • The study of the work of accountants and controllers.

The study of innovative management control and cost management practices

Élodie Allain, Hugues Boisvert, Alexander Mersereau, Samuel Sponem, Sophie Tessier

Simons’ work [1] has greatly renewed “management control” by emphasizing usage conditions of control systems by managers beyond the existence (or lack thereof) of such formal control systems. They have highlighted the diversity of practices in this field. This work complements older research that puts forward latent roles of accounting mechanisms.[2] However, the integration of these various theories remains rudimentary and we only have a limited overview regarding the evolutionary dynamics of control systems and the way managers use them to meet conflicting expectations.The goal of the Chair’s first research area is to understand how these conflicting expectations impact the use of control mechanisms by managers by focusing on issues such as:

  • How do organizations successfully develop systems to control the implementation of strategies without discouraging innovation?
  • How do economic ideas influence the use of control mechanisms?
  • How do organizations manage to produce control and cost management mechanisms that satisfy their various stakeholders while helping decision making?
  • How do new mechanisms and tools meet the needs of organizations?

The study of issues and impacts regarding the dissemination of management control and cost management mechanisms in non-profit organizations

Claude Laurin, Michel Vézina, Samuel Sponem, Johanne Turbide

Laying down objectives and choosing cost management indicators and methods in non-profit organizations is often problematic. The importance that must be given to management control and cost management has thus become a major concern for practitioners and researchers alike because, among other reasons, such mechanisms involve stakeholders more diverse than in other organizations, they have numerous potential adverse effects and    the objectives of public sector managers are sometimes difficult to define. Driving public action through results and costing does not necessarily question the values of public service but raises questions about its impacts, including in terms of the ethics, identity and value of public sector managers.

This raises questions about issues such as:

  • How do these control mechanisms impact professional groups in the public sector?
  • Do they transform the logic behind public action?

The study of the work of accountants and controllers

Hugues Boisvert, Lambert Jerman, Caroline Lambert, Alexander Mersereau, Samuel Sponem

Producing accounting information involves more than just basic technique. It is a complex practice carried out by people, organizations and institutions, including professions. The conditions of this practice affect the reliability, relevance and impact of accounting, control and costing mechanisms.

The Chair will therefore focus on the work of management accountants and controllers:

  • What is the work of accountant and controllers?
  • How are they positioned within organizations?
  • What dilemmas are they facing?


[1] Simons, Robert (1995). Levers of control: how managers use innovative control systems to drive strategic renewal, Boston, Harvard Business School Press, 217 p.

[2] Burchell, Stuart, Colin Clubb, Anthony Hopwood, John Hughes et Janine Nahaplet (1980). « The roles of accounting in organizations and society », Accounting, Organizations and Society, vol. 5, no 1, p. 5–27.