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Olivier Saulpic is Professor and Head of the Management Control Department at ESCP Europe Paris campus and co-director of the Health Management Innovation Research Centre. Professor Saulpic teaches Management Control in all the programmes of the school (Master in Management, Specialized Master, Executive MBA and Executive Education).
He conducts field-based research on performance measurement and management systems, in particular in the health sector: their design, their appropriation by individuals and the diffusion of innovations. His research has led him to work as a consultant in the context of intervention research projects. He also works on the relation between performance and motivation and the parallel between sports and management. He co-founded the Management Control Research Group (Macorg).
He graduated with an engineering degree from Ecole Centrale Paris, holds an MBA from HEC, and a Doctorate degree in Economics from Ecole Polytechnique and a HDR degree (French Qualification for Ph.D. Supervisor) in management from Université d'Orléans.
Before joining ESCP Europe, Professor Saulpic worked as a consultant in industrial organization. He also worked for a venture capital company and then as head of the industrial department of a chemical company.
Appropriation of management control systems by actors (with Annick Bourguignon and Philippe Zarlowski)
This field based research aims at exploring the process of appropriation of (or resistance to) a new performance management system associated with the development of an economic culture in a large French public-sector firm. It is based on interviews and in-company observations of performance meetings.
Our results show the importance of organizational identity and the identification of actors to it in the way systems are appropriated. The first results were published in French in Revue Française de Gestion des Ressources Humaines.
Further analysis led us to focus on temporal aspects of identities. In a working paper entitled “Management control systems and organizational change: Framing time and identity” we evidence the role of MC systems in (re)shaping these temporal aspects of identity during organizational change.
New Institutionalism and Accounting Change (with Annick Bourguignon and Philippe Zarlowski)
New instutitionalist sociology (NIS) studies the diffusion and adoption of management innovations in organizations embedded in a socio-economic and socio-political institutional context. It builds, in particular, on the concept of decoupling or loose coupling according to which organizations would formally adopt innovations without actually implementing them.
Our research based on the case study of the adoption a new performance measurement and management system in a French public sector firm, aims to contribute to refining frameworks for the analysis of processes of diffusion and adoption of accounting innovations. We draw on Hasselbladh and Kallinikos’s (2000) framework and suggest that not only ideals, discourses and techniques of control, but also related practices should be scrutinized to fully understand adoption processes in firms (working paper : “New Institutionalism and Accounting Change: Why Ideals, Discourses and Techniques are not Enough”).
Evolution of management control systems (with Jean-Pierre Ponssard)
Since Johnson & Kaplan’s (1987) severe criticism of management accounting practices, several contributions have tried to improve management control system efficiency. According to Otley (2001), these contributions can be classified into two streams: an increasing link with the strategy on one hand and an increasing focus on financial value creation on the other, which seem to remain independent.
This theoretical research aims at better understanding the internal consistency of each proposition and how they could become complementary. For that purpose, we extend and refine Simon’s two-type characterization (diagnostic and interactive) of the use of management control systems:. Our new characterization of these two uses allows us to show that systems based on a strategic vision of the activity are representative of interactive control while value-based management systems are representative of diagnostic control. The limits of both systems are revisited. It is argued that a complementary approach may be necessary to overcome these limits. (Working paper: « Les systèmes de pilotage : une relecture critique inspirée des travaux de Simons)
Management Control Systems and Coordination (with Jean-Pierre Ponssard)
Management control is often said to be at the root of coordination problems in organizations. We conduct case studies in industrial service companies that show how management control may be used to favor coordination. Preliminary results show that this requires: the design of specific management tools, the existence of an interface actor, an interactive use of the tool and subjective incentives.
Performance management: The connections between sport and management (with Frédérique Alexandre-Bailly, Annick Bourguignon and Roxana Maracineanu)
Sport is often used as a metaphor to justify specific managerial practices. But few academic studies have investigated the links between sport and management. Wolfe et al. (2005) recently advocated the relevance of an observation of high level sport to derive conclusion for management despite the potential limits due to intrinsic differences between sport and management (Corvellec 1995). After having shown the potential interest of this approach with the example of Roxana Maracieanu’s experience (Roxana Maracineanu graduated from Escp-eap and is the first French swimming world champion - Alexandre-Bailly, Maracineanu, Saulpic, 2006), we are conducting in depth interviews of athletes and their coach to analyze the links between their motivation and their environment (coach, team, federation, selection rules…) in order to shed new light on these issues in the management field.