This thesis sets out to investigate the organizational aspects of information processing systems
at a macro organizational level of analysis, using both static and dynamic modelling
Chapter 1 validates the use of organizational taxonomies for small and medium sized
manufacturing firms and highlights the importance of the dynamic nature of organizational
Chapter 2 models each of the ten Miller configurations using Beer's Viable System Model,
enabling the strengths and weaknesses in each of the five information processing systems to be
Chapter 3 introduces a dynamic element into what would otherwise be static models. The
Viable System Model is used once again, in this instance to highlight the information
processing properties of organizational transition states.
Chapter 4 investigates the concept of configuration at the System 3 level of analysis, i. e. the
existence of internal information system archetypes. The results suggest distinct clusters
amongst existing management accounting and control systems, but fail to link them to the
organizational configuration identified by Miller and Friesen's 31 variable questionnaire.
Chapter 5 studies the System 4 function, validating its role within the Viable System Model
and developing a measure of Perceived Environmental Uncertainty.
Chapter 6 looks at the System 5 policy-making function in more detail, introducing the
concept of delta to account for softer issues such as personality traits, locus of control and
culture, all of which prove to be of significant importance in small and medium sized
A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.