Purpose The extent to which sustainability is integrated into conventional accounting practices, in the light of a more integrated thinking perspective, requires further exploration. This paper aims to investigate how management control systems (MCSs) and sustainability-specific control systems (SCSs) are mobilised and how they interact to support the environmental sustainability strategy of a small- and medium-sized entity (SME). Design/methodology/approach Through a case study in a waste disposal firm, this paper examines the influence of cognitive, organisational and technical factors on the interaction and integration of MCSs and SCSs to bolster an environmental sustainability strategy. Findings The MCSs that are mobilised vary according to the type of strategy that is pursued. Even though the technical integration of MCSs with SCSs was not achieved, interaction between them supported strategic decision-making and the pursuit of environmental performance in the light of a more integrated thinking perspective. The role of multidisciplinary teams formed by accountants and environmental scientists to support sustainability management control at the SME also enabled interaction and provided steps for integrated thinking. Practical implications Although based on single case study, this research offers practitioners useful knowledge about the potential levers and obstacles relating to the mobilisation of MCSs when a sustainability strategy is conceived and its impact on the development of integrated thinking. Originality/value The paper provides insight into how SMEs can mobilise their MCSs to support an environmental sustainability strategy, shedding light on the factors that enhance interaction among MCSs and SCSs.

Mobilising management control systems to support sustainability strategy in SMEs: the case of a waste disposal firm

Cavicchi C.
Primo
;
Oppi C.
Secondo
;
Vagnoni E.
Ultimo
2022

Abstract

Purpose The extent to which sustainability is integrated into conventional accounting practices, in the light of a more integrated thinking perspective, requires further exploration. This paper aims to investigate how management control systems (MCSs) and sustainability-specific control systems (SCSs) are mobilised and how they interact to support the environmental sustainability strategy of a small- and medium-sized entity (SME). Design/methodology/approach Through a case study in a waste disposal firm, this paper examines the influence of cognitive, organisational and technical factors on the interaction and integration of MCSs and SCSs to bolster an environmental sustainability strategy. Findings The MCSs that are mobilised vary according to the type of strategy that is pursued. Even though the technical integration of MCSs with SCSs was not achieved, interaction between them supported strategic decision-making and the pursuit of environmental performance in the light of a more integrated thinking perspective. The role of multidisciplinary teams formed by accountants and environmental scientists to support sustainability management control at the SME also enabled interaction and provided steps for integrated thinking. Practical implications Although based on single case study, this research offers practitioners useful knowledge about the potential levers and obstacles relating to the mobilisation of MCSs when a sustainability strategy is conceived and its impact on the development of integrated thinking. Originality/value The paper provides insight into how SMEs can mobilise their MCSs to support an environmental sustainability strategy, shedding light on the factors that enhance interaction among MCSs and SCSs.
2022
Cavicchi, C.; Oppi, C.; Vagnoni, E.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11392/2483590
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