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The controller role in strategic capital investment projects: an actor’s approach
Luleå University of Technology, Department of Business Administration, Technology and Social Sciences, Business Administration and Industrial Engineering.
Luleå University of Technology, Department of Business Administration, Technology and Social Sciences, Business Administration and Industrial Engineering.
Luleå University of Technology, Department of Business Administration, Technology and Social Sciences, Business Administration and Industrial Engineering.
2015 (English)Conference paper, Presentation (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

There is a rich literature on techniques, such as portfolio management and stage-gate project management, which typically relies on a rational approach to the management of strategic capital investment projects. There is however a lack of research which focuses on the process of creating and managing strategic capital investment projects. An important, but seldom noticed, actor in this process is the controller. Hence, little is known about the controller role in strategic capital investment projects. The purpose of this paper is to investigate the controller role in strategic capital investment projects and to provide insights about how the controller role is performed and about expectations on this role among the controllers themselves, project managers and top management. A case study was conducted in a large mining company in the north of Sweden encompassing interviews with controllers and managers involved in strategic capital investment projects. The selected case study organization was considered suitable because the mining industry is characterized by long production cycles and an ongoing need for capital investments which typically are expensive and involve complex and uncertain situations. The study shows that the tasks associated with the traditional controller role still constitute an important part of the controllers’ daily work in strategic capital investment projects, although the controller role is perceived as much broader. Another result is that controllers in strategic capital investment projects need to be able to adapt their role to suit specific situations. More specifically, in complex situations controllers need to be able to handle subjective information and to modify financial information for purposes such as predicting future outcomes. Controllers strive towards an adaption of their role towards analytical and strategic work and use experience and knowledge of the organization gained over time to broaden their role. Expectations from different actors are sometimes conflicting and create demands on both the work role and the skills needed by the controllers. These expectations keep the controllers from completely leaving the traditional role, thus to some extent preventing role adaptation.Keywords: actor’s approach, controllers, role of the controller, mining industry, strategic capital investment projects

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015.
Research subject
Accounting and Control
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-37013Local ID: ae316cd5-bc7d-4630-8336-7acd7f5c378dOAI: oai:DiVA.org:ltu-37013DiVA: diva2:1010511
Conference
Nordic Academy of Management Conference : 12/08/2015 - 14/08/2015
Note
Godkänd; 2015; 20150904 (boikar)Available from: 2016-10-03 Created: 2016-10-03Bibliographically approved

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