Control is an elusive concept, even though it refers to a central process in management. The chapter therefore begins by clarifying the nature of control. It identifies a number of foundations upon which control within an organization can be built. The chapter goes on to make several key distinctions relevant to the exercise of control. One is the difference between strategic and operational levels of control. A second concerns the three principal features of control on which a policy decision has to be made: its extent, focus, and the mechanisms through which it is to be exercised. Yet another distinction relevant to mechanisms is between control based on authority and control achieved through the management of relationships and/or of identity. These distinctions help us to understand the options for control. These options are classified into six basic strategies of control and discussed in detail.

Certain of these control strategies are associated with conventional organizational forms, while others are more in keeping with newer approaches. The choice between them, and the configuration of control strategies adopted, reflects the circumstances of a particular organization, and the contingencies it faces. The chapter closes by considering these contingencies.

images An Elusive Concept

Control is an essential and central process of management. ...

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