The claim that management control systems (MCS) influence behavior relies on an implicit assumption that can be theorized in terms of Festinger's (1957) cognitive dissonance theory, and termed behavioral strategy. However, Festinger's theory recognizes an alternative cognitive way of reducing dissonance (cognitive strategy). This article presents the results of an empirical research, the aim of which was to test the likeliness of the behavioral versus the cognitive stragegy, with the perception of performance evaluation criteria being used as an indication of the likeliness of the strategy adopted. The findings show that the cognitive strategy occurs about as frequently as the behavioral one - which lead to questioning the basic assumption of MCS.
ANCELIN-BOURGUIGNON, A. (2004). Performance Perceptions and Performance Evaluation Perceptions: New Insights from an Exploratory Research.