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REAd. Revista Eletrônica de Administração (Porto Alegre)

Print version ISSN 1980-4164On-line version ISSN 1413-2311

REAd. Rev. eletrôn. adm. (Porto Alegre) vol.23 no.1 Porto Alegre Jan./Apr. 2017 





Patricia Villa Costa Vaz* 

Márcia Maria dos Santos Bortolocci Espejo** 

* Universidade Federal do Paraná – PR / Brasil.

**Universidade Federal do Mato Grosso do Sul – MS / Brasil.


Management accounting has been associated to the institutionalization of trust inside organizations. Trust allows the implementation of systems which grant freedom to choose without trying to process more information about the world than it ought to be done. (TOMKINS, 2001). Regarding such aspects, this paper questions: how have previous studies been relating trust and Management Control Systems (MCS) towards reaching organizational objectives? To achieve this, we object to examine the role of trust in Management Control System, and its relation with organizational objectives, according to Hoon’s (2014) methodology, which allow the construction of a theory based on primary case studies. On developing the methodology four causal networks have been examined on selected studies: institutions, Management Control Systems, trust and organizational objectives. The institutions represent the effective background of the case studies, specially as a series of habits, rules, routines and procedures; the approaches regarding management control systems include budget and performance evaluation; in relation to trust, previous studies have primarily discussed it through contract, communication and competence approaches; and, as to organizational objectives, changes on current systems, focus on performance and business risk reduction are tackled. Feedback, however, was dealt with after achieving objectives, when management incorporates trust on personnel relationships – the primary step towards goals and objectives.

Key words: Trust; Case study; Meta-synthesis; Management Control Systems


A contabilidade gerencial tem sido associada à institucionalização de confiança dentro de uma organização. A confiança permite adotar esquemas que fornecem liberdade de escolha, sem tentar processar mais informações sobre o mundo do que se é capaz de fazer (TOMKINS, 2001). Considerando estes aspectos, o presente estudo questiona: de que maneira os estudos anteriores vêm relacionando a confiança com o Sistema de Controle Gerencial (SCG) para o alcance dos objetivos organizacionais? Para tanto, objetiva-se examinar o papel da confiança no Sistema do Controle Gerencial, e sua relação com os objetivos organizacionais, conforme a metodologia da meta-síntese de Hoon (2014), que visa a construção de uma teoria a partir de estudos de caso qualitativos primários. Na elaboração dos passos da metodologia, depreenderam-se quatro redes causais nos estudos selecionados: instituições, Sistema de Controle Gerencial, confiança e objetivos organizacionais. As instituições representam o contexto de realização dos estudos de caso, especialmente sua caracterização como uma sucessão de hábitos, regras, rotinas e procedimentos. As abordagens sobre o Sistema de Controle Gerencial incluem a avaliação de desempenho e o orçamento. Com relação à confiança os estudos anteriores discutiram, sobretudo, as vertentes contratual, comunicativa e de competência desta variável. Quanto aos objetivos organizacionais, os estudos discutem aspectos como mudança no sistema vigente, o foco no desempenho e na redução do risco do negócio. Ao final da análise, o item de feedback se apresentou nos estudos como a etapa após o alcance dos objetivos, na qual a gestão interioriza a confiança nas relações pessoais, passando esta a ser parte importante no alcance das metas e objetivos.

Palavras-Chave: Confiança; Estudos de caso; Meta-síntese; Sistemas de Controle Gerencial


La contabilidad de gestión se ha relacionado con la institucionalización de confianza dentro de una organización. La confianza permite adoptar esquemas que proporcionan la libertad de elección sin tratar de procesar más información sobre el mundo que es capaz de hacer (TOMKINS, 2001). Teniendo en cuenta estos aspectos, este estudio se pregunta: ¿cómo los estudios anteriores han relacionado la confianza con el Sistema de Control de Gestión (SCG) para la consecución de los objetivos de la organización? Por lo tanto, el objetivo es examinar el papel de la confianza en el Sistema de Control de Gestión, y su relación con los objetivos de la organización, de acuerdo con la metodología de meta-síntesis de Hoon (2014), que tiene por objeto la construcción de una teoría a partir de estudios de caso cualitativos primarios. En la preparación de los pasos de la metodología, aparecen cuatro redes causales en los estudios seleccionados: instituciones, Sistema de Control de Gestión, la confianza y los objetivos de la organización. Instituciones representan el contexto de la realización de estudios de casos, especialmente su caracterización como una sucesión de hábitos, normas, rutinas y procedimientos. Los enfoques para el Sistema de Control de Gestión incluyen la evaluación del desempeño y el presupuesto. Con respecto a la confianza, los estudios anteriores discuten los aspectos contractuales, la comunicación y la competencia de esta variable. En cuanto a los objetivos de la organización, los estudios analizan temas como el cambio en el sistema actual, el rendimiento y la reducción en el riesgo del negocio. Después del análisis, el elemento de feedback presenta en el estudio como el paso después de la consecución de los objetivos, en los que la gestión internaliza la confianza en las relaciones personales, permitiendo que ésta sea una parte importante en el logro de las metas y objetivos.

Palabras-clave: Confianza; Estudios de caso; Meta-síntesis; Sistemas de Control de Gestión


The information of management controls comprises a range of data towards company management which, somehow, ought to be able to use this specific language; such “data becomes information as long as it allows users to act towards changes in current status – which not always occurs” (AMORIM, 2007, p. 20). According to Neu (1991), accounting professionals hold a privileged position in occidental societies for they are trusted as able to professionally convey valuable and accountable knowledge. According to Palmer, Ziegenfuss and Pinsker (2004) accounting professional required skills have recently been strongly upheld to public and regulation higher standards due to economic crisis and scandals. Discussions have been occurring spotlighting accounting professions and information values (MCMILLAN, 2004); ranging from communication, problem-solving, personal and interpersonal skills, to information technology, computer, accounting and business acumen (MCMILLAN, 2004).

Therefore, some authors (JOHANSSON; BALDVINSDOTTIR, 2003; BARDY, 2006; LANGEVIN; MENDOZA, 2013) have been discussing management accounting regarding trust institutionalization within an organization. Tomkins (2001) defines trust as the adoption of a belief for one of the parts, in a relationship in which the other part shall not act against it, where this belief is acted upon without neither hindrance nor doubt – even without further information about the first part’s actions. Trust is defined as a three-legged construct: contract, competence and communication (REINA; REINA, 2007); being the first related to people skill and competence acknowledgement; the second to upholding contracts as previously agreed; and the third to information disclosure. Accounting has been attempting the trust construct regarding evaluator-evaluatee relationship towards relations with Management Control System and organizational objectives (ROSS, 1994; JOHANSSON; BALDVINSDOTTIR, 2003; SMITH, 2005; BUSCO; RICCABONI; SCAPENS, 2006; LAVARDA; FELIU; PALANCA, 2009; BRUNO, 2013).

In accordance to these aspects, this study enquires: how have previous studies been relating trust and Management Control Systems (MCS) towards reaching organizational objectives? In order to do so, Hoon’s (2014) meta-synthesis methodology shall be used to examine previous qualitative case studies whenever trust is related to Management Control Systems and from organizational objectives ranges.

This paper is justified by considering trust allows the implementation of systems which grant freedom to choose without trying to process more information about the world than it ought to be done. (TOMKINS, 2001). Therefore, to trust someone allows acting as if there were less uncertainty – albeit those uncertainties have not been actually diminished. Smith (2005) defines trust as a belief management accounting ought to work towards organization best scenario. High interdependence levels promote a reliable and entrusting environment at all times, making opportunity behaviors not cost-effective to partners (GULATI; SYTCH, 2007). As shared knowledge decreases, common expectations raise trust importance (NEU, 1991). What makes accounting reliable is a consistent behavior throughout long times, specially towards honesty, transparency, coherence, competence and care about people, their say and feelings (SMITH, 2005).

As a theoretical contribution, this paper suggests a theoretical framework on joint analysis of Management Control Systems and ranges of trust towards organizational objectives, able to serve as basis on further studies towards its application and validation in a plethora of institutional environments. As practical contribution, it sheds new light within organization environments: it emphasizes trust roles as most relevant towards components of Management Control Systems and organizational objectives.

It is divided as follows: The role of trust in Management Control Systems, main subject; steps from Hoon (2014) methodology herein; meta-synthesis data analysis – item 4; followed by final considerations and references.


1.1 The role of trust in Management Control Systems

According to Tomkins (2001), to trust someone allows acting as if there were less uncertainties – albeit those uncertainties have not been actually diminished. Trust, therefore, is omnipresent: a paramount social landmark. If anyone wishes to understand relationships, trust limits ought to be discussed (TOMKINS, 2001).

According to Rousseau, Sitkin, Burt and Camerer (1998, p. 395),

Trust is a psychological state comprising the intention to accept vulnerability based upon positive expectations of the intentions or behavior of other. (…) Because risk and interdependence are necessary conditions for trust, variations in these factors over the course of a relationship between parties can alter both the level and, potentially, the form that trust takes.

These authors evaluate previous studies to their articles and have found three major steps in organizations: trust as a building construct, a stable one, or a declining one – and the according trust for each step – not the inter-relation to the other steps (ROUSSEAU et al., 1998).

Regarding conceptualization, trust may be seen as independent (cause), dependent (effect), or interaction (moderator): the first model relates to studies towards economy and transaction cost savings; the second to Japanese company historical analysis, inasmuch as institutional accordance and sociologic perspective – for trust relies on aspects from the counterpart; and, the third, to interpersonal behavior in organizations and social arrangements based on social psychology and micro-organizational behavior theories (ROUSSEAU et al., 1998).

Regarding different construct choices, Rousseau et al. (1998) state trust is not a control mechanism, but a substitute for control which reflects a positive attitude towards others’ motives; therefore trust may be based on calculations, relational or institution-based.

The first form of trust is a rational choice, a characteristic of economical theory exchange interactions: trust emerges when the trustor acknowledges the trustee intends to act beneficially. Calculative based trust derives from restrictions and from the reliability of information regarding intentions or competence of other parts. Relational trust arises from repeated interactions over time between trustor and trustee, being themselves enough to the latter to constitute its very basis. And, finally, institution-based trust may ease the way to formulate the first two ones. Previous restrictions may also promote trust for trusting someone with a reputation allows, primarily, relation structuring.

Regarding types of trust, Reina and Reina (2007) affirm the transactional trust, both reciprocal and created incrementally, may be of competence, contractual or communication trust. Competence trust refers to ability, to skilful decision-making and to searching for new inputs to improve it further. Contractual trust relates to trust in people, characterized by expectation management, establishing boundaries, assigning wisely, encouraging mutually-serving intentions, keeping agreements, and performing consistently. Differently, communication trust comprises disclosure, information sharing – upheld whenever the parts speak truthfully, admit mistakes, supply and receive feedback, and, keep confidentiality. Previous studies regarding trust and Management Control Systems are divided in three primary fronts.

The first one regards the theoretical studies on trust in accounting – specially in Management Control Systems. Mayer, Davis and Schoorman (1995) have developed a model of organizational trust which shows the higher the trustor’s propensity to trust the, greater the administrator’s trust prior to the availability of information about the trustee. Tomkins (2001) has examined the fundamental concepts related to information needs – specially accounting ones. Smith (2005) has highlighted matters concerning necessary department and worker issues when developing trust in accounting. Busco, Riccaboni and Scapens (2006) explored how management accounting systems may be related to learning processes and organizational culture for change, and how they should be used to identify reliable solutions when organizational crises arise. Baldvinsdottir, Hagber, Johansson, Jonäll and Marton (2011) have provided a literary revision regarding the accounting and trust nexus. And, Sabatier (2014) has discussed subjects expediting manager trust building; he suggested to managers hints on concentrating their efforts to build trust.

The second front deals with empirical studies analyzing trust between leaderships and followers. Ross (1994) has analyzed that, within high levels of trust, the usage of a specific evaluation style with budget or profit limitations may result in lower tension at work than the usage of a non-accounting performance evaluation. Johansson and Baldvinsdottir (2003) have confirmed performance evaluations derive from trust, as well as evaluation task production and reproduction, along with all parts concerning, the evaluator, the evaluated, and, the accountant. Ferrante (2006) examined the innovative practice of accounting information sharing towards workers promote benefits in the relation among employers and employees, with an increase on trust and performance. Hartman and Slapnicar (2009) have confirmed the worker’s trust in the hierarchical superior relies on the formality of performance evaluation processes, mediated by management justice and feedback perceptions. Lavarda, Feliu and Palanca (2009) have analyzed the incorporating factors which positively influenced MCS institutionalization were the knowledge and skill of agents involved in the changing process, computer resources, personnel background and willingness, low outsourced MCS specialist participation, worker incentive system, trust relationships, and, planning processes.

The third process also deals with empirical studies, this time concerning trust in inter-organizational trust. Cuganesan (2007) has investigated how the formal trust control works on the dynamics of collaborations, analyzing relations between formal controls (contracts and accounting controls) and trust. Free (2008) has analyzed how such practices influence on building trust in UK retail segment. Vosselman and Van der Meer-Kooistra (2009) has debated trust aids both control production as control addition – control may decrease trust level in situations where it exceeds necessary compensations to negative legitimate behavioral expectations. Meira, Kartalis, Tsamenyi and Cullen (2010) have stated there are not many studies regarding trust development processes, and, they suggested further lines of study towards the contract nexus between accounting and trust, especially when considering most inter-company relations are contract-based.

After having stated the relation among trust concepts and Management Control System, the next item presents the methodology of Hoon (2014), the meta-synthesis, utilized herein.


The methodology of Hoon (2014), the meta-synthesis, here utilized purports to the construction of a theory from primary qualitative case studies, defined according to specific criteria (HOON, 2014). Eight steps have been stated in order to build it, according to Chart 1:

Chart 1  Meta-synthesis steps 

Steps Analytic objective
1 Research question framing
2 Relevant research location
3 Exclusion criteria
4 Data extraction and codification
5 Specific case analysis
6 Cross study synthesis
7 Theory construction based on meta-synthesis
8 Discussion

Source: produced by the author, based on Hoon (2014)

According to Hoon (2014), the first step is the framing of the research issue towards suiting meta-synthesis methodology within adequate context. The question of specific research should aid concerning variables in becoming operational besides the primary study separation.

The second step concerns the location of relevant researches, with articles that will become a part of the meta-synthesis. In order to locate studies within research accordance an extensive bibliographic, enquire ought to be carried out in order to exclude irrelevant information.

The third step regards exclusion criteria specification towards specifying which studies have methods, theoretical basis, focus and standards within research accordance. This step ensures study viability and reliability. The following step is the analysis of selected meta-synthesis papers.

The fourth step is data extraction and codification, that is, a thorough examination of all selected papers, codifying study characteristics and presenting basic insights according to this research in question.

The fifth step comprises specific case analyses, identifying the sequence of variables which had been found in each case study and had been considered more relevant to research objective development.

The next step is the cross-level synthesis of all selected papers, that is, the gathering of such papers within a meta-causal network. In this step, the sequence of variables obtained in each case specific analysis – proceeding from the previous step – is accumulated to generate a pattern.

The two last steps comprise theory construction from meta-synthesis and discussion: the first one identifies concepts which enlighten interdependences among presented variables; the second one comprises a final process reflection, followed by discussions regarding meta-synthesis results and potential limitations.

In the next topic each step of Hoon’s (2014) meta-synthesis will be explored aiming to answer the research question of the present study.


3.1 Step 1 – Research question framing

In this first step, the problem and the phenomenon to be investigated have been defined. Theoretically, there had been no consensus regarding trust roles in Management Control System for the development of meta-synthesis.

In order to do so, attempts have been made to comprehend the relationship between trust and Management Control System, limiting study range to organizational trust and enquiring: how previous studies have been relating trust with Management Control System towards organizational trust? Thus, according to meta-synthesis, the primary concerning studies have been selected.

3.2 Step 2 – Relevant research location

In this second step, the identification of relevant articles towards meta-synthesis has been carried out through Web of Science website main collection – Social Science, restricted to the terms “management control system*” ‘and’ “trust”, without date limitation, resulting in 24 articles – 22 periodicals; 2 congress – as shown in Chart 2.

Chart 2  Articles from step 2 

I. Research procedure: Web of Science website (main collection, topic research). Search parameter: topic research (management control system and trust).
International Periodicals Research Date Article by periodical (n = 22)
Management Accounting Research Until May 2015 (5)
Accounting Organizations and Society Until May 2015 (3)
Australian Accounting Review Until May 2015 (2)
Contemporary Accounting Research Until May 2015 (2)
Accounting and Business Research Until May 2015 (1)
Accounting Review Until May 2015 (1)
Baltic Journal of Management Until May 2015 (1)
European Management Journal Until May 2015 (1)
International Journal of Health Planning and Management Until May 2015 (1)
International Journal of Production Economics Until May 2015 (1)
Journal of Accounting & Organizational Change Until May 2015 (1)
Journal of Business Research Until May 2015 (1)
Journal of Computer Information Systems Until May 2015 (1)
Scandinavian Journal of Management Until May 2015 (1)
International Events Research Date Article by event (n = 02)
6th Conference on Performance Measurement and Management Control Until May 2015 (1)
5th International Management Accounting Conference (IMAC) Until May 2015 (1)

Source: produced by the author

Web of Science website search resulted in 14 international periodicals, within various strata, mostly from accounting and management; while the two congress ones focused on Management Control System and trust.

3.3 Step 3 – Exclusion criteria

The third step regards exclusion criteria specification towards specifying which studies were not relevant for the current research development. After first paper selection, analysis showed 17 from those 24 did not fall within investigation range, for: (i) used methodology did not comprise case studies (six articles); (ii) article discussion fell on different approaches (seven articles); and, (iii) some articles comprised downloadable abstracts only (four articles) – despite further attempts to research them in ulterior, restrict-access, databases. Appendix A lists references and reasons for dismissal.

Chart 3 lists excluded results and reasons for doing so.

Chart 3  Step 3 exclusion criteria 

Criterias Excluded Result Reasons Excluded references
(i) Case study (qualitative) Used methodology did not comprise case studies, therefore excluded - Greenberg; Greenberg and Mahenthiran (2008) experimental study; - Pappas and Flaherty (2008) quantitative study; - Hartmann and Slapnicar (2009) quantitative study; - Pettersen (2011): quantitative study; - Kilfoyle; Richardson and MacDonald (2013) theoretical study on accounting vocabulary; - Langevin and Mendoza (2013) the methodology wasn’t case study.
(ii) Investigation range within research accordance Article discussion outside question range, therefore excluded - Free (2007) analyses interpersonal relations in supply chains; - Van der Meer-Koistra and Scapens (2008) explore the nature of lateral relations and develop structures to define elements from governance package for those relations; - Homburg and Stebel (2009) analyse the key factors of contractual clauses among professional service companies and their clients; - Sundin; Brown; Wakefield and Ranganathan (2009) analyse the Management Control System in non-governmental companies; - Appuhami; Perera and Perera (2011) discuss a control model within public-private partnerships; - Caker and Siverbo (2014) analyse strategic alliances in lieu of interactions among organisational structure, social ideological control and technocratic control; - Vazquez; Rodriguez and Kekale (2014) investigate established distribution channels and the roles adopted by control systems over changes on the distribution network.
(iii) Downloadable studies Non-downloadable articles therefore excluded - Rowe (2004); - Zin (2009); - Flores et al. (2011); - Rooney and Cuganesan (2013).

Source: produced by the author

According to Chart 3 and first criterion within, quantitative, theoretical and experimental studies, as well as those outside case study methodology have been excluded from the sample. The second criterion, investigation range excluded seven papers not dealing with trust in Management Control System. The third criterion – downloadable studies – excluded four more. Therefore, seven articles comprised meta-synthesis final sample, and have been analyzed regarding quality, as follows.

3.4 Step 4 – Data extraction and codification

Data have been extracted and codified towards meta-synthesis selected study evidence categorization. According to Hoon (2014), this stage allows the researcher autonomy to define parameters to be used in study codification, herein his model has been adapted according to answer quality towards investigated matters, as shown in Chart 4.

Chart 4  Outline for Step 4 codification 

Item No. General Study Details
1 Writer
2 Title
3 Periodical / Congress
4 Publication date
5 Type of study
Writer’s objective
6 General objective
7 Research proposition
8 Contributions
Theoretical framing
9 How does the paper discuss Management Control System trust issues?
10 How does the paper discuss trust aspects?
11 Concepts / understanding Management Control System;
12 Concepts / understanding trust;
Study Context
13 Country
14 Industry / sector
15 Research context
16 Research location
17 Research outline
18 Research project
19 Approach
20 Analysis unit
21 Number of investigated cases
22 Sampling strategy
Data and source collection technique
23 Time and data collection sequence
24 Data collection techniques
25 Data source
26 Data amount / validity
27 Data management techniques
Data analysis approach
28 Data analysis methods
29 Analysis techniques
30 Main conclusions evidenced by summaries, introductions and conclusions hereupon
31 Obtained events, factors or patterns regarding trust in Management Control System
32 Trust effects on Management Control System
33 Environmental conditions
34 Conceptual model or frame visualisation
35 Main result discussion
36 Contribution to general accounting;
37 Contribution to further areas
38 General limitations
39 Study relevance for investigated study
40 Study validity
41 Information inconsistency
42 Additional comments

Source: produced by the author, based on Hoon (2014)

According to Hoon (2014), the objective of those Chart 4 open questions is to assure insights to researchers; hereto the final outline has been based on these 42 extraction and codification items.

3.5 Step 5 –Specific case analysis

In this step, every remaining article has been mapped towards variable identification of granting causal network development and specific comprehension of each case analysis, as shown in Figure 1.

Source: produced by the author

Figure 1  Step 5 Meta-causal network 

According to figure 1, four causal networks have been identified: institutions, Management Control System, trust and organizational objective. The institution represents the implementation context of case studies, specially its characterization as a sequence of habits, rules, routines and procedures. Approaches regarding Management Control System include primarily, performance evaluation and budget. As far as trust is concerned, it has been discussed – specially through contractual, communication and competence perspectives. Regarding organizational objectives, studies discuss aspects as changes in the current system, focus on performance and business risk reduction. The feedback risk, however, at the bottom of the picture, was presented as a phase after reaching the objectives – in which management incorporates the interpersonal relationship trust, an important factor towards achieving goals and objectives.

Bidirectionality between Management Control System and trust should also be stressed, according to Cuganesan (2007, p. 122), due to continuous usage of control based on outcome and behavior – maybe seen as not enough justification to the costs in doing so – and, also resulting in a management control reduce usage in the long run. Whereas, if initial trust level expectations dwindle, larger control dependences may occur – due to its apparent objectivity in representing performance levels as mere perception of participant behaviors. Neutrality or control – and its quantifiable nature – independence makes it a consistent device on personnel management, for if it is based on processes (as management control) and reinforce or uphold trust, MCS may become less dependent from future personal interaction. Otherwise, if the mechanisms decrease trust levels, MCS shall become more dependent from future personal interaction.

3.6 Step 6 – Cross study synthesis

This stage aims to analyze case identified variables jointly, towards a meta-causal network. Approaches of studies towards Figure 2 mapping/organization are shown in Chart 5.

Chart 5  Variables and their classifications 

Author / Year Institutions Management Control System Trust Organizational objectives

Contractual Communicative Competence
1. Johansson and Baldvinsdottir (2003) They use ‘Old Institutional Economics’ concepts, where institutions are the social articulation of human activity, created and re-created by thoughts and habits – in this case: performance evaluation. They analyze performance evaluation processes considering management accounting contributes to ways of acting based on habits, routines and rules, shaping daily organizational processes. They do not use such classification although they consider contractual trust, for they discuss the notion that in order to win evaluator’s trust; the evaluated one has to accept control on early stages, and, once trust is proven, active control should be substituted by discreet monitoring – so as to not violate such trust; otherwise, if the evaluated one has not deserved it, control should be re-introduced. Performance evaluation as a tool to assure improvement on organizational performance.
2. Busco, Riccaboni and Scapens (2006) Set of rules (formal statement of procedures) and routines (ongoing practices), linked to production and re-production of knowledge. They use terminology from Management Control System (they analyze company accounting and finance sector restructuring). They do not use such classification although they consider trust as mechanism able to reduce uncertainty in interaction contexts and to promote proper organizational system working through social behaviors, therefore regarding contractual trust. Efficacy on individual un-learning processes and changes in organizational culture.
3. Cuganesan (2007) Contract set. He analyses relations within a supplier network. He analyses formal control mechanism subgroups as contracts and accounting controls (result control – budget, or behavior – rules and regulations). It may be positively influenced by contracts, being accounting controls able to reinforce or to uphold it, reducing performance measure strictness through time. Contracts and accounting controls influence negatively whenever under strict application. Accounting controls may reinforce it or uphold it, reducing performance measure strictness through time. Performance improvement through cost reduction within supplier network.
4. Emsley and Kidon (2007) Contract set. They verify existent relations in establishing a joint venture. They verify operational and executive controls, such as output and behavior controls, generated through joint venture establishment. It is not mentioned. Social control trust and small contact among joint venture governance committee executives resulted in low information level: trust was slowly developed. Output, behavior and social controls within operational level workers produced a high amount of information, increasing joint venture governance committee trust over them. Efficacy on organizational changes (joint venture).
5. Langfield-Smith (2008) Uses concepts from TCE – Transaction Cost Economics, where the manager adopts certain governance strategies to minimize costs in collaborative alliances. Considers Management Control as a set, composed by relations between governance structure, processes towards trust development, risk mitigation and control mechanisms (behavior, output and social controls). It is not mentioned. Activities developed in the pre-alliance phase and during the interim alliance increased both communication and competence trust. Manager’s perception towards relational risks reduction and improvements on alliance performance.
6. Vélez; Sánches and Álvarez-Dardet (2008) Relations among partner companies towards achieving desirable or pre-defined results. Focus on Management Control System main functions: Monitoring (rewarding and performance measuring) and Coordination (workload, specialization, knowledge and skill assignment). It is not mentioned. In an evolving open relation, Management Control Systems are able to build trust even when it has already been established. High trust enables success to further partners to cooperation, and, demanding higher cooperation trust levels. Formal controls enable partner reliability perception improvements towards these two varieties of trust. Improvements on company relations considered as ability to solve problems and to manage interdependencies, improving satisfaction and joint results.
7. Pernot and Roodhooft (2014) Contingency approach in relationships between suppliers and manufacturers – subject to relational and performance risks. Set of formal and informal controls towards strategic objective decision-making; they analyze cases where formal controls seem not to overload operational difficulties. Improvement when assuring that actions were contractually sound. Improvement on sharing principles and regulations. Mutual willingness is necessary towards organizational bonding. Improvement on quality result and target reaching due to previous performance and reputed provider choices, delegating competence. Risk reduction and performance improvement on manufacturer and supplier relations.

Source: produced by the author

3.7 Step 7 – Building Theory from meta-synthesis

Considering previous steps, this paper demonstrates researches regarding Management Control System trust range within organizational objectives towards system changes, connecting trust among parts as means to their implementation. As far as trust is concerned, the selected articles hereinbefore are divided in: contractual, communication and competence trust.

Such evidences unfold as thus: trust among parts is related to Management Control System towards cooperation in reaching pre-determined organizational objectives.

3.8 Step 8 – Discussion

At this last stage, limits concerning primary study heterogeneity and guidelines towards meta-synthesis performing must be evidenced. The present paper examines qualitative case studies towards contexts within trust and Management Control Systems, limited by the number of investigated papers – initially: 24; finally analyzed: 7 – albeit enough to contribute to the Management Control field. Once trust directly influences Management Control System usefulness, further investigations may yet be developed towards empirical verification of the theoretical framework suggested hereby.

This meta-synthesis reaches beyond recent studies, considering its methodology offers empirical consolidation well-founded on intense study search strategy of periodicals and – national and international – congress papers regarding Management Control System and trust. Therefore, the meta-synthesis objective is the analysis of constructions, the main variables, and previous case study relations to obtain new theories and to improve existent ones (Hoon, 2014). Thus, the meta-synthesis based on qualitative case studies regarding a specific theme presents extensive synthetic potential.


This paper has had, as objective, the application of Hoon’s (2014) meta-synthesis methodology to examine how trust had been related to Management Control System in qualitative case studies previously published, as well as construct relation with organizational objectives. Such methodology allows theory constructions through primary qualitative case studies, defined according to criteria and set of steps: eight have herewith been developed, and four causal networks – institutions, Management Control System, trust, and, organizational objectives.

Institutions represent case studies context, specially its characterization as a succession of habits, rules, routines and procedures; approaches on Management Control System include performance evaluation and budget; Regarding trust, its perspective (contractual, communication and competence) have been studied; and, towards organizational objectives, aspects such as changes in current system, performance focus and business risk reductions have been covered. Feedback, however, reached after achieving objectives, incorporates personal relation trust – an important step to reach goals.

Such evidences unfold as thus: trust among parts is related to Management Control System towards cooperation in reaching pre-determined organizational objectives.

As theoretical contribution, this study suggests a framework to analyze jointly Management Control Systems and the perspectives of trust, towards organizational objectives; such model may uphold future studies and be applied and validated in a plethora of institution environments. As a practical contribution, it sheds new light within organization environments: it emphasizes trust roles as most relevant towards components of Management Control Systems and organizational objectives.

A suggestion to additional studies is an analysis of trust acknowledge within all organization levels – allowing wider perception of Management Control System aspects as policies, procedures and other administrative control – and to validate this theoretical model in a plethora of institutions, furthering debates regarding relations between trust and Management Control System.


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No. Author / Year International Periodics Status Justification
1 Appuhami; Perera and Perera (2011) Australian Accounting Review Excluded Different range
2 Busco; Riccaboni and Scapens (2006) Management Accounting Research Meta-synthesis -
3 Caker and Siverbo (2014) Scandinavian Journal of Management Excluded Different range
4 Cuganesan (2007) Journal of Accounting & Organizational Change Meta-synthesis -
5 Emsley and Kidon (2007) Contemporary Accounting Research Meta-synthesis -
6 Florez et al. (2012) 6th Conference on Performance Measur. and Manag. Control Excluded Downloadable only summary
7 Free (2007) Contemporary Accounting Research Excluded Different range
8 Greenberg; Greenberg and Mahenthiran (2008) Journal of Computer Information Systems Excluded Experimental study
9 Hartman and Slapnicar (2009) Accounting, Organizations and Society Excluded Quantitative study
10 Homburg and Stebel (2009) Management Accounting Research Excluded Different range
11 Johansson and Baldvinsdottir (2003) Management Accounting Research Meta-synthesis -
12 Kilfoyle; Richardson and MacDonald (2013) Accounting, Organizations and Society Excluded Theoretical study
13 Langevin and Mendoza (2013) European Management Journal Excluded No case study
14 Langfield-Smith (2008) Management Accounting Research Meta-synthesis -
15 Pappas and Flaherty (2008) Journal of Business Research Excluded Quantitative study
16 Pernot and Roodhooft (2014) International Journal of Production Economics Meta-synthesis -
17 Pettersen (2011)International Journal of Health Planning and Management Excluded Quantitative study
18 Rooney and Cuganesan (2013) Accounting and Business Research Excluded Downloadable only summary
19 Rowe (2004) Accounting Review Excluded Downloadable only summary
20 Sundin et al. (2009) Australian Accounting Review Excluded Different range
21 Van der Meer-Kooistra and Scapens (2008) Management Accounting Research Excluded Different range
22 Vazquez; Rodriguez and Kekale (2014) Baltic Journal of Management Excluded Different range
23 Velez; Sanchez and Alvarez-Dardet (2008) Accounting, Organizations and Society Meta-synthesis -
24 Zin (2009) V International Management Accounting Conference Excluded Downloadable only summary

Received: March 04, 2016; Revised: May 02, 2017; Accepted: May 31, 2017

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