The management control of innovation: the role of management control technologies in the offshoring of R&D processes (Innovation Control)
The recent research stream on the role of accounting and management control systems in innovation settings, focuses on the difference between control systems which foster innovation and those that foster productivity. It seeks to find the patterns of effects of formal and informal control systems and helps to unravel the correlates of control systems on innovation.This research project aims at contributing to the understanding of innovation processes as practices by inquiring how elements of various control systems engage in the development of innovation and how the interconnections between different technologies of managing, which intervene in the shaping of innovation practices, could be more important than their separation. The ambition of this research project is to inquire into the role that these management technologies, as ‘mediating instruments’ between arenas and actors, have in the generation and diffusion of innovation and thus in the process of making and constructing of markets.These issues are investigated in two European multinational organizations which are experiencing the offshoring of R&D processes. Offshoring of R&D activities is a way of exploiting trans-national synergies and co-operation in order to foster innovation and it is of particular relevance for innovation management and management accounting studies because it raises the issue of controlling innovation at a distance by managing inter-organizational networks which are characterized by a high geographic dispersion. In these social arenas accounting and management control technologies mediate and transform uncertainties linked to innovation development and shape networks which develop across time and space.The research is inter-disciplinary and based on the use of sociological theories and qualitative field approaches (e.g. Ahrens and Chapman, 2006) to assist in the analysis of theorganizational dynamics and micro-processes.