Internal control is conventionally depicted as comprising technical practices designed to prevent or detect accounting errors and/or the loss of assets. However, high profile corporate collapses in recent years have fostered a recognition that internal control encompasses an organisation's broader cultural milieu. The paper argues that internal control may be ineffective − regardless of the technical routines in place − when an apparent acceptance of managerial discourse and managerial intentions is undermined by accommodation. The focus is on the hotel industry in China where junior staff is recruited from the ranks of internal migrants seeking work in the cities. Unprotected by unions or labour laws, such staff creatively cope with their situation by accommodation rather than overt resistance. Internal control systems in Chinese organisations outwardly reflect traditions of obedience, but various forms of accommodation serve to weaken the surface illusion of docility. The paper is illustrated with cases drawn from the researcher's experience as a trainee manager. Theoretical guidance is provided by Foucault's concepts of power/knowledge, discipline and subjugated knowledges: local memories regarded as unqualified or actively disqualified within scientificity.