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Organizational control is a key managerial function, and the focus of a great deal of research in the management and organizations field. Our concern is that research has not kept pace with changes in contemporary organizations and the external environment. In response to this concern, we review extant empirical work on organizational control with an emphasis on the consequences of control (i.e., the control-outcome linkage). As part of our analytical process, we surface theories underlying existing control frameworks used in empirical research and identify key dimensions implied by the frameworks. The three dimensions of control formality, control coerciveness, and control singularity map onto traditional vs. more current issues in and around organizations, and therefore prove helpful in assessing the existing research stream. Based on our review, we show how control-outcome research has in fact reached a troublesome point in its evolution, particularly concerning quantitative research. Older frameworks, theories, and issues seem to have limited theorizing that better fits today's realities, and several empirical tactics appear to be negatively affecting quantitative work. We close with actionable suggestions for an area of scholarship that continues to have great potential.
- Received October 2, 2014.
- Revision received March 22, 2017.
- Accepted March 22, 2017.