Themanummer Internal Audit Functie MAB: Theorizing Participatory Control Systems: an organizational control concept for enabling and guiding adaptivity in complex situations


Auteur: Wouter Kolk, Leen Paape, Igor Nikolic, Ron de Korte

This paper presents a theoretical framework for a new concept of organizational control, that stimulates organizational change and adaptation. It introduces Participatory Control Systems (PCS) as a distinct type of control based on the complex adaptive system literature. These control systems are fundamentally different from the traditional notion of (management) control. Building on the notion of complex systems and the concept of social learning, PCS increase organizational adaptivity by enabling and facilitating social learning processes that may emerge to transformational change over time. To illustrate the PCS concept in practice, three examples are given in this paper. Moreover, some key implications for internal auditors and suggestions for future research are provided.

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Contemporary internal control instruments and frameworks are based on a paradigm that is increasingly ill-suited for the main challenges that organizations face in the 21st Century. As a result, there is a strong need for new theories, mental models, tools, and frameworks to help internal auditors and others involved in issues of control and governance. In this paper, we provide a new, yet robustly theorized concept that provides in this need.

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