This study examines the association between the use of three types of controls (input, behaviour and output) and Miller and Friesen's organisational life cycle (OLC) stages (birth, growth, maturity, revival and decline). Data were collected by a survey questionnaire from a random sample of 1,000 General Managers in Australian manufacturing business units. The results indicate that the extent of use of different controls is associated with OLC stages. Specifically, both behaviour and input controls were found to be used to a significantly greater extent than output controls in both the birth stage and the growth stage, while all three types of controls were used to a similar level in the maturity and revival stages. An examination of the extent of use of controls across OLC stages revealed that each type of control was used to a significantly greater extent in the growth and revival stages than the birth and maturity stages. The study contributes to the literature by linking management control system studies to OLC studies. Most importantly, the study assists Australian manufacturing business units in identifying the appropriate use of controls both in and across OLC stages.