University of Oulu

Zarzycka, E., Dobroszek, J., Lepistö, L. et al. J Manag Control (2019) 30: 251.

Coexistence of innovation and standardization : evidence from the lean environment of business process outsourcing

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Author: Zarzycka, Ewelina1; Dobroszek, Justyna1; Lepistö, Lauri2;
Organizations: 1Department of Accounting, Faculty of Management, University of Lodz, Matejki 22/26, 90-237 Lodz, Poland
2Turku School of Economics, Pori Unit, University of Turku, P.O. Box 170, 28101 Pori, Finland
3Oulu Business School, University of Oulu, P.O. Box 4600, 90014 Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.3 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Springer Nature, 2019
Publish Date: 2019-06-04


It has been argued that companies face the challenge of being innovative while at the same time having to standardize and control organizational processes. While management control research has mostly focused on how control supports innovation, the present study aims to improve our understanding of how controls can support the co-existence of process and management innovations with standardization. The paper adopts a single-case study method and analyses the use of a management control system in the context of a business process outsourcing company which faces the simultaneous need for process and management innovation and standardization. The study examines the relationships between different levers of control and their nature to explain how levers of control can create consistent and countervailing reinforcement that supports the co-existence of innovation and standardization. Moreover, we provide an insight into how certain controls, specifically diagnostic and interactive lean controls, combine the levers of control, so creating countervailing reinforcement. We show that the identified reinforcement enables the coexistence of different innovations and standardization at various organizational levels. Thus, the current study contributes to the stream of research on how management controls work collectively, acknowledging their impact on innovation and the concurrent need for standardization.

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Series: Journal of management control
ISSN: 2191-4761
ISSN-E: 2191-477X
ISSN-L: 2191-4761
Volume: 30
Issue: 3
Pages: 251 - 286
DOI: 10.1007/s00187-019-00284-x
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 512 Business and management
Copyright information: © The Author(s) 2019. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.