Employees’ perception of management control systems as a threat: effects on deliberate ignorance and workplace deviance

Ernesto Lopez-Valeiras, Jacobo Gomez-Conde, David Naranjo-Gil, Ricardo Malagueño

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
13 Downloads (Pure)


We examine the impact of employees’ perceptions of management control systems (MCS) as a threat on two forms of misconduct: deliberate ignorance and workplace deviance. Drawing on the theory of cognitive dissonance, we predict that a perceived threat is associated with a decrease in workplace deviance but may also trigger unintended consequences, such as deliberate ignorance. Hypotheses are tested using survey data from three large hospitals. Taken together, our results suggest that employees’ perceptions of MCS as a threat have (1) a negative curvilinear effect on workplace deviance and (2) a positive linear association with deliberate ignorance. Additionally, we find that the need for professional autonomy shapes the effect of employees’ perception of MCS as a threat on both forms of misconduct. Overall, by providing new empirical evidence on how employees perceive MCS and their (un)intended consequences, we add to the growing body of research on the effects of control systems on employees’ behaviour.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)251-278
Number of pages28
JournalAccounting Forum
Issue number2
Early online date16 Nov 2022
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2024


  • Perception of control
  • management control systems
  • misconduct
  • deliberate ignorance
  • workplace deviance
  • cognitive dissonance

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