1 Accounting Research Centre - ARC, Aarhus School of Business, Aarhus BSS, Aarhus University2 Department of Business Studies, Aarhus School of Business, Aarhus BSS, Aarhus University3 Department of Management, Aarhus BSS, Aarhus University4 Department of Management, Aarhus BSS, Aarhus University
In recent years, the role of the controller has changed rather significantly. When a profession is affected by new beliefs and principles for its work, its traditional social identity is challenged. The purpose of this paper is to analyse how to be a controller in the new context and hence the emergence of a new social identity of the controller. For our analysis, we have chosen Bjarte Bogsnes (controller at Statoil) as he presents himself as a change agent in the book Implementing Beyond Budgeting. By undertaking a discourse analysis of the BB book, we uncover a self-narrative genre that positions the controller as an important character in a rather dramatic change process. We find that Bogsnes constructs himself in opposition to a mechanical management approach. As an alternative he advocates a more dialectic perception of doing business and a more reflective and action-oriented controller. Drawing on a more complex language with less mechanical management features but more dramatic, reflective and emotional discourse elements, BB is constructed as a management model that aims to balance the dialectical forces of competitive strategy versus the front-line manager and opportunistic versus responsible behaviour through human interaction. Overall, BB seems to draw on an individualized and practice oriented paradigm.
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7th Conference on New Directions in Management Accounting (EIASM), 2010