Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


The objective of this research was to explore some concrete implications of operating in different cultures for controlling operations in multinational companies.;The hypothesis tested is that cultural differences between subsidiaries of a company limit the degree of standardization which can be achieved in a worldwide budgeting system and, more specifically, that even when the multinational corporate management standardizes budgeting practices: (1) actual practices differ among subsidiaries, and (2) a number of significant differences are related to cultural differences. It was meant to be a first step toward providing multinational management with a framework to analyze which currently successful control techniques and processes (in the multinational home culture) may be dysfunctional in culturally different locations.;The research was conducted in two subsidiaries--the French and the U.S. subsidiaries--of a North-American multinational company operating on a tight centralization and coordination basis. This company used, in particular, a detailed standardized budgeting and reporting system to control its worldwide operations.;The research steps consisted of the following: (1) Measurements of the cultural differences between the subsidiaries, using the culture questionnaire developed by the anthropologists Kluckhohn and Strodtbeck. (2) Comparison of the budgeting practices between the subsidiaries. This comparison covered both tangible elements (such as the steps followed or the formality of the process) and intangible elements (such as the level of participation or the priorities pursued). (3) relating the differences in practices to the cultural differences.;The data on budgeting practices were collected through interviews at top management level, in the controllers' departments and in the plants.;Conclusions were the following: (1) The analysis of the culture questionnaire identified cultural differences on the Man-Nature and Relational dimensions. The French respondents believed in collaterality and being in harmony with nature. The U.S. respondents were individualistic and believed in mastery over nature. These differences were strongly reflected in the budgeting practices. (2) There were no differences on the other cultural dimensions, Time and Activity. However, differences in practices suggested that the two groups were not similar on these dimensions and that the questionnaire did not measure them adequately.



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