Honors College Thesis


The Management Control System in a Growing Family Firm Public Deposited

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  • Many firms start off as small family businesses which are controlled through the culture imprinted on employees by the founder. As the business grows, family owners and the executives that they hire, face a dilemma – how do they manage the trade-off between wanting to control the business in order to improve performance (business identity) and keeping the familial feel of the firm (family identity). Using a case study carried out at Industrial Finishes & Systems, a rapidly growing entrepreneurial family firm with a familial culture based on religious values, this thesis examines the management control system (MCS) that emerged as a family firm scaled its business to better understand the relationship between the use of MCS and its effect on business and family identity. After conducting 20 interviews with Industrial Finishes, I found that family firms can balance their family and business identities through the use of cultural controls based on religious values. I found that the other management controls, which supported the business identity, helped to reinforce the familial identity. In conclusion, religious values enable a balance between identities in a growing family business. Key Words: Cultural control, Religion, Family firm, Management control system
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