Essays on the Implications of an Employee-empowering Agile Management Approach on Management Control Elements

Research output: ThesisDoctoral ThesisCollection of Articles


Organizations must adapt to constant change to ensure viability. Evolving technology, the need for innovation, changing customer behavior, and unexpected events intensify the demand for responsiveness. To improve their responsiveness to changing circumstances, organizations are adopting new management approaches and practices that influence various management control (MC) elements. One such approach that has entered the mainstream of business management is the agile method. For instance, the adoption of agile methods calls for self-managing teams, a flatter hierarchy, and the delegation of decision-making authority. While agile methods suggest greater organizational agility and one of their key features is employee empowerment, they differ significantly from more hierarchical management methods and their MC configurations. Therefore, the adoption of agile methods has implications for MC elements, such as organizational structures, routines, performance measures, incentives, and value systems. Although agile philosophy and methods are attracting interest in business world and among researchers in various fields, accounting research has so far overlooked this management phenomenon. The three essays of this dissertation address following questions: How MC elements are designed and used to promote responsiveness within an employee-empowering agile context, how non-management employees deal with tensions arising from combinations of MC elements, and how different MC systems affect employees' work motivation.
Translated title of the contributionEsseitä työntekijöiden itseohjautuvuutta vahvistavan ketterän toimintamallin vaikutuksista johdon ohjauselementteihin
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor's degree
Awarding Institution
  • Aalto University
  • Malmi, Teemu, Supervising Professor
  • van der Kolk, Berend, Thesis Advisor, External person
  • Derichs, David, Thesis Advisor
Print ISBNs978-952-64-1649-6
Electronic ISBNs978-952-64-1650-2
Publication statusPublished - 2024
MoE publication typeG5 Doctoral dissertation (article)


  • Management controls
  • responsiveness
  • agility
  • employee empowerment
  • tension
  • work motivation
  • financial institution.


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