Managing in Dynamic Business Environments
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Managing in Dynamic Business Environments

Between Control and Autonomy

Edited by Katarina Kaarbøe, Paul N. Gooderham and Hanne Nørreklit

This timely and innovative book focuses on budgeting control and ongoing Beyond Budgeting trends and its consequences for the organization. Ensuring an optimal balance between individual autonomy and management control is a critical challenge for organizations operating in dynamic business environments. Too much of the former leads to chaos, and too much of the latter guarantees rigidity. This book explores the tensions that arise in seeking the best possible balance between these two dimensions. Resolving these tensions is a critical challenge for achieving competitiveness.
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Chapter 7: A new way of being a controller – from bellboy to actor

Hanne Nørreklit and Katarina Kaarbøe


In recent decades, it has been argued that the old values, thoughts and norms regarding the appropriate way of being a controller (the role of a controller) have been disturbed, requiring the formation of new ways (Burns and Baldvinsdottir, 2007; Østergren and Stensaker, 2011). In this chapter, we tie the way of being a controller to the choice of management control method, which encompasses the logical structuring of the control phases as well as the procedures and instruments used in each of these phases (Arbnor and Bjerke, 1997). The particular method says something about the perception of the material and social subjects involved in the control activities and the form of social relations among those subjects. Accordingly, the management control method makes assumptions about the management control phenomenon, including the controller’s character, his or her way of doing and the relationships formed between controller and other actors in the firm. Ultimately, the contemporary business environment might even require a paradigmatic change in the way of being a controller. Therefore, this chapter explores whether a novel management control method in a contemporary business context entails a change in the paradigm for being a controller.

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