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Course module: USEMMCS
Management Control Systems
Course infoSchedule
Course codeUSEMMCS
ECTS Credits5
Category / LevelM (Master)
Course typeCourse
Language of instructionEnglish
Offered byFaculty of Law, Economics and Governance; Graduateschool REBO; International Economics and Business;
Contact personJ.H. Lee
Contactperson for the course
J.H. Lee
Other courses by this lecturer
Teaching period
3  (03/02/2020 to 19/04/2020)
Teaching period in which the course begins
Time slotD: WED-afternoon, Friday
Study mode
RemarkRequired elective in master Financial Management; Elective in masters IM, BDE, BF & EP.
Enrolment periodfrom 28/10/2019 up to and including 24/11/2019
Course application processOsiris
Enrolling through OSIRISYes
Enrolment open to students taking subsidiary coursesNo
Post-registration openfrom 20/01/2020 up to and including 21/01/2020
Waiting listNo
Please note the prerequisites for this course at the bottom of the course description.

This course aims at providing students with a thorough understanding of the field of management control system (MCS). We will begin by discussing what it means to have an organisation be “in control,” what alternatives managers have for ensuring good control, and how managers should choose from among control system alternatives. Then we will focus on the elements of “financial control systems,” which include: (1) responsibility structures (e.g., cost centres, profit centres), (2) performance measures (e.g., market, financial, and/or nonfinancial measures and their combinations), (3) performance evaluations, which take into consideration performance targets or other benchmarks, and (4) rewards (including performance-dependent compensation). For instance, firms must design responsibility structures. If performance is defined in accounting terms, these structures are composed of configurations of cost centres, revenue centres, profit centres, and investment centres. They have to choose specific performance measures and make them operational. Just within the category of accounting-based measures, which are in common use, are measures with acronyms such as EBITDA, ROE, RONA, ROCE, ROI, and RI. And, many market-based and nonfinancial measures are also used frequently.
The latter part of the course extends these key notions of management control to corporate governance. Corporate governance systems and MCS are inextricably linked. A corporate governance focus is slightly broader than a MCSs focus, which include laws and regulations, boards of directors, particularly, boards’ audit and compensation committees, external auditors, and concentrated ownership patterns. To better understand corporate governance practices, we incorporate recent research findings and updated the survey statistics.
Learning objectives
At the end of the course the student is able to:
·    Understand the role of management control within organisations, and the relationships of management control with corporate governance, and so on.
·    Understand the potential contribution of management control perspectives for the overall management control within a firm (i.e., the potential advantages and disadvantages of management control elements).
·    Apply management control perspectives to a real-life business setting, where a firm faces certain management control challenges.
·    Extract the main findings from scientific articles on the field of management control, and to provide a basic assessment of the strength of these findings.
·    Understand the current corporate governance research. 
·    Ultimately, make business decisions, evaluate organisational performance or evaluate others (and/or be evaluated) through the use of financial and nonfinancial information.
This course typically has 2 hours of lecture and 2 hours of seminar per week. This course is the case-oriented classes. In MCS-related courses the value of lecturing has some sharp limitations because facts, rules, and techniques are a relatively minor part of what budding managers and functional specialists must learn. Therefore, there is not much (a few, if necessary) formal, traditional style of lecture about theories and rules. The focus of most of the lectures will be on discussions of specific cases developed from real-world practice although the most relevant topics will be theoretically explained and illustrated.
During the seminars, students will present their group projects- one involves the analysis of a case, the other involves the discussion of the findings of a selected article.
Assessment method
•        Final exam (70%, individual);
•        Group work (30%).

Course is eligible to all students. It is assumed that the student has prior knowledge about basic finance and accounting concepts (as taught in any bachelor course in finance and accounting).

In case online access is required for this course and you are not in the position to buy the access code, you are advised to contact the course coordinator for an alternative solution. Please note that access codes are not re-usable meaning that codes from second hand books do not work, as well as access codes from books with a different ISBN number. Separate or spare codes are usually not available.
Entry requirements
You must meet the following requirements
  • Enrolled for a degree programme of faculty Faculty of Law, Economics and Governance
Required materials
Merchant & Van der Stede, Management Control Systems, 4th edition, Pearson Education.
Selected academic articles.
Lecture notes.
Case studies.
Study guide
Course manual.
Instructional formats


Group work
Test weight30
Minimum grade1

Final test
Test weight70
Minimum grade1

Kies de Nederlandse taal