The title of this dissertation “Control with Care”, relates first of all to the subject of this study, careful financial and material resources management. As a public sector organization, the Dutch Defence organization needs to do its job properly, while using budgets and material resources in an appropriate manner. This implies the careful use of scarce resources, preventing phenomena such as overspending, inefficiencies and the unconcerned use of equipment.
Secondly, the title relates to carefully choosing the right controls for achieving the objectives of the organization.
Based on 23 semi-structured interviews, a survey (220 respondents in the field of financial management and 170 respondents in the field of material resources management) and 114 archived audit reports, this study found reason to believe that the often legally enforced hard controls are not enough to keep the Dutch Defence organization in control. To be effective, these hard controls must be used in the right way and intensity and they should be embedded in a system in which soft controls play an important role. Especially the soft controls congruency and discussability impact positively on both kinds of resources management.
Therefore the main task of the commanders and managers in the Dutch Defence organization regarding careful resources management may be showing -not only in words but also in deeds- that they care about resources management while creating conditions for sharing knowledge and encouraging people to discuss the problems they face so they can learn from their mistakes.

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S.P. Kaptein (Muel) , J.M.M.L Soeters (Joseph)
Erasmus University Rotterdam
Rotterdam School of Management (RSM), Erasmus University

Heeren-Bogers, J. (2018, October 18). Control with Care : The value of soft controls in the management control system of the Dutch Defence organization. Retrieved from