Issues in the area of performance management and management control systems are typically complex and intertwined, but research tends to be based on simplified and partial settings. Simplification has made the work easier to carry out, but it has come at the price of increased ambiguity and conflicting findings from different studies. To help mitigate these issues, this paper puts forward the Performance Management Systems Framework as a research tool for describing the structure and operation of performance management systems (PMSs) in a more holistic manner. The framework was developed from the relevant literature and from our observations and experience. In particular, it elaborates the five questions of Otley’s [Otley, D., 1999. Performance management: a framework for management control systems research. Management Accounting Research, 10, 363-382.] performance management framework into twelve questions and integrates aspects of Simons’ levers of control framework.
Anecdotal evidence suggests the extended framework provides a useful research tool for those wishing to study the design and operation of performance management systems by providing a template to help describe the key aspects of such systems. It allows an holistic overview to be taken whilst making this a feasible task. The paper uses material from two field studies to illustrate how the framework can be used to provide an overview of the major performance management issues within an organization.