Academic year
2022/2023 Syllabus of previous years
Official course title
Course code
EM4046 (AF:386014 AR:214226)
On campus classes
ECTS credits
Degree level
Master's Degree Programme (DM270)
Educational sector code
4th Term
Course year
Go to Moodle page
This course contributes to the overall learning objectives of the degree in Management, which aims at providing students with advanced knowledge on financial and business management, by addressing the topic of the design of management control systems, with a strong case-based approach. In particular, the course aims at training students to:
(a) be able to identify the core management control problems;
(b) be able to design and evaluate the main MCS that can be employed;
(c) be able to discern the most important situational factors and influences on MCS and their effectiveness.
At the end of the course, the students are expected to have developed a solid knowledge of the main management control problems, of the main management control systems, of the opportunities and limitations that they present, also in diverse settings.
Also, the students should be able to identify management control problems in real world situations, design potential management control solutions, or assess existing ones, and critically reflect on them.
Besides, the students are expected to have developed or stengthened abilities of case-based learning: specifically, to analyse, present and critically discuss a case study in public, to recognize elements of theory in case studies, and to mobilize evidence from case studies to illustrate theoretical concepts.
Basic knowledge of management control.
The course is articulated in 3 main sections, alternating theory-based and case-based approaches in each one.

The first section is aimed at developing an understanding of what Management Control is and how it can be designed. We will explore definitions and core concepts that will serve as the ground for the rest of the course. At the end of this first section, students are expected to have developed a solid knowledge of the core concepts of Management Control and of its main design variables.

Once we have understood what Management Control Systems are, we can move on to explore Management Control in practice. The second section of the course constitutes the backbone of the whole course and will focus in depth on some of the main results control practices in use in organizations, namely: responsibility accounting; budgeting; incentive systems; performance measurement. We will explore what each of these management control practices is and how it can be designed in organizations.
At the end of this second section, students are expected to have developed a solid knowledge of the main characteristics of results controls, of their uses and limitations. Students are expected to be able to recognize them in real world situations, to assess them and to propose alternative designs for control purposes.

In the final section of the course we will broaden our analysis of Management Control Systems, by engaging in a reflection on whether and how the main control practices reviewed may have sense or may change in different contexts. Management Control Systems are not fixed practices, they are crafted and shaped according to different national, industrial, and organizational cultures and needs.
At the end of this third section, students are expected to be able to conduct a critical reflection on the variability and applicability of Management Control Systems in diverse settings.
Management Control Systems: Performance Measurement, Evaluation and Incentives.
K. Merchant, W. Van der Stede, Pearson, last edition (2012)

Chapters: 1, 3, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11,16, 17

4 Case Studies (case study texts and assignment questions will be communicated throughout the course, in class and on Moodle).
The evaluation will be in 30/30.

For attending students, the evaluation is composed of an individual and a group assessment, as follows:
- WRITTEN EXAM (70% of final grade). 3 open-ended questions based on the textbook chapters and on the case studies discussed in class.
- During the course: CASE STUDIES presentation and dicussion (30%). Instructions will be given in class and on Moodle.

For non-attending students, the evaluation is wholly individual, as follows:
- WRITTEN EXAM (70% of final grade). 3 open-ended questions based on the textbook chapters and on the case studies discussed in class (just like attending students);
- CASE STUDY REPORT + ORAL EXAM (30%). Non-attending students will have to submit a case study report (the case study will be given by the professor), and discuss it during an oral exam.

The course will alternate theory-based teaching (in ordinary lectures) and case-based learning (in case study seminars).
Each one of the three sections of the course will be delivered through a series of ordinary lectures, concluded by one case study seminar. The purpose of the case study seminar is to have the students apply the theoretical concepts reviewed in the prior lectures to a real-world case, in order to get a more vivid understanding of the theoretical concepts.
Prior to the case study presentation or discussion, the students will be given an assignment question and will have to work by groups at home to analyse the case and prepare their presentation.
During the case study seminars, some groups will be presenting their case study, and other groups will be discussing it.

Definitive programme.
Last update of the programme: 09/09/2022