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You are here: Home / News and Events / Events / 2017 / January / Interactions between formal and informal controls in a large NGO - In the name of the mission: the case of MSF (Médecins Sans Frontières)

Interactions between formal and informal controls in a large NGO - In the name of the mission: the case of MSF (Médecins Sans Frontières)

Type Lectures & Talks
When 25 Jan 2017, 03:30PM - 05:00PM
Venue Ken Edwards Fifth Floor SR 501
Open To University staff and students
For Bookings Contact Dr Ekaterina Svetlova es285@leicester.ac.uk 0116 223 1981

Presenter: Dr Jeremy Morales, Royal Holloway, University of London and Bruno Cazenave, ESCP Europe.
Date & Time: Wednesday 25 January 2017, 3:30pm - 5:00pm
Venue: Ken Edwards Fifth Floor SR 501

Abstract

In this paper, we explore how formal and informal controls interact in International NGOs, an under-explored type of organizations. Our case setting is Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), one of the largest worldwide humanitarian organizations. Completing an emerging stream of literature (Chenhall and al., 2016; Kraus and al., 2016), we explore how operational managers leverage organizational ideology to push backwards or to downplay formal and accounting-based management control practices. In our case, we suggest that the main MSF organizational ideology, i.e. belonging to a humanitarian elite, is fuelled through meetings and induction programs. We describe how ‘business-like’ management control practices like variances analysis are downplayed during budget sessions. We study how ‘achieving the MSF mission’ overrules accounting-based decision-making. Finally, in reaction to a new initiative aiming at enhancing the ‘entrepreneurship’ of the Head of Missions, we show how MSF financial teams react: first, they strive to push forwards more suitable cost-accounting methods, rely on peer-to-peer surveillance and try to promote a financial identity at field project level.

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