The model was tested by means of empirical data collected from a questionnaire addressed to 160 production managers. The response rate was 82. 5%. The ? ndings provide some support for the notion that organizations adapt their MAS design to the control requirements of the situation. Furthermore, the study o? ers some empirical support for the existence of suboptimal equi? nality. That is, in situations which lack of a single dominant imperative, several alternative, and functionally equivalent management control system (MCS) designs, may arise. O 2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Introduction Since the mid-eighties, there has been a trend in manufacturing towards customization and novel approaches to organizing production, including JIT/TQM models of control (Schonberger, 1986; Womack, Jones, & Roos, 1990). The pursuit of such strategies poses signi? cant challenges for the management since they typically imply intensi? ed interdependencies among functionally di? erentiated departments and new means of managing the work? ow (Bouwens & Abernethy, 2000; Kalagnanam & Lindsay, 1998).
The multiple contingencies model stems from recognition that the demands placed on MAS design by multiple contingencies may con? ict (Fisher, 1995), i. e. , attempts to satisfy one demand may mean that other demands cannot be satis? ed. It is also explicitly assumed that the need for coordination and control can be met by several alternative, and equi? nal, management control system design strategies. The assumption is justi? ed by the long-held view that management control subsystems may not only complement each other but also substitute for each other (Fisher, 1995; Galbraith, 1973; Mintzberg, 1983).
The remainder of the paper is structured as follows. The following two sections de? ne the constructs, develop the theoretical model, and conclude with a number of exploratory propositions. The process of data collection and data analysis is then detailed in the fourth section. The results of the study are presented and discussed in the ? fth and sixth sections, respectively. The last section contains concluding comments and some suggestions regarding future research. De? nition of constructs For a long time there has been an interest among scholars in documenting ? relationships between features of context in which the organization operates and its management control arrangements.