Controlling fashion: Enabling controls in creative teams in fashion firms
Background and problem: In the creative teams of fashion firms a two-way control problem for achieving strategic alignment arises, the first being the need to balance creative and commercial dimensions, and secondly the need to bring coherence to the creative work, both without diminishing the intrinsic motivation of individuals. Purpose: The purpose of the study is to investigate how the design features of enabling MCS in creative teams of fashion firms achieve strategic alignment without diminishing intrinsic motivation. Research question: How are the enabling MCS in the creative teams of fashion firms designed? Method: A qualitative study was carried out mainly based on interviews and supported by public and internal company documents. Five interviews with people in different roles, both with creative and commercial responsibilities, working in or around the creative team. Discussion and conclusion: Three of the design features of enabling controls are identified in the creative teams MCS, however it is the interplay between these that makes the MCS in the creative team enabling. Two of these are considered to be more central features. In the creative team there exists a need for autonomy to facilitate intrinsic motivation, making flexibility one of these central features. Internal transparency increases the creative teams understanding regarding the boundaries of the creative space within flexibility exists. In turn global transparency becomes the second central feature, as it is a balancing force in the MCS, ensuring that potential deviations outside the boundaries are discovered and adjusted so that it is in line with the creative and commercial strategic objectives. Interestingly the study finds that global transparency enables the creative team so that they are provided with operational repair capability similar to what is considered as repair capability in the original studies on enabling controls focusing on operations by Adler and Borys (1996).
MSc in Accounting