Management control systems in a non-enterprise network: The greenhouse gas protocol initiative

Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Asia
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Australian Accounting Review, 2009, 19 (2), pp. 93 - 102
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A study explores the use of management control systems in a unique multi-stakeholder collaborative network, the Greenhouse Gas Protocol Initiative (GHGPI). The primary objective of the GHGPI was to harmonise greenhouse gas accounting practices through the development of one international standard. The central problems in the collaboration were the multiple differing stakeholder ideologies and the practical challenges of a geographically dispersed network being able to work together. To overcome these problems, MCS were designed around socio-ideological, planning and administrative controls. The GHGPI faced the problems of the collaboration not having a financial or profit objective, high levels of uncertainty about outcomes, conflicting stakeholder ideologies, and the practical issue of enabling a geographically dispersed network to work together. Collaborations are becoming popular forms of organising people and resources because they enable multiple stakeholders to be involved in projects. Despite the benefits, however, the issue of conflicting stakeholders' views may arise (Cleland 1986; Jugdev and Müller 2005) and put the achievement of project outcomes at risk. The case of the GHGPI provides insights into the management of such challenges, because it was such a large and ultimately successful multistakeholder collaboration. The insight from the analysis of the GHGPI can be applied not only to accounting standard developments, but more broadly to various other forms of collaboration
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