Scandinavian Working Papers in Business Administration

SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Business Administration,
Stockholm School of Economics

No 2009:9: Towards a General Theory of Financial Control for Organisations

Lars Östman ()
Additional contact information
Lars Östman: Dept. of Business Administration, Stockholm School of Economics, Postal: Stockholm School of Economics, P.O. Box 6501, SE-113 83 Stockholm, Sweden

Abstract: In this paper, a theory of accounting, control and accounting-related areas is outlined.It is based on a number of previous research-oriented books published over several decades and the author´s specific own experiences from internal and external processes with organisations in focus.Consistency and integrative power of the ideas have been tested in relation to certain books in various fields outside the core of the subject:theatre,sociology, applied systems theory,economic history, institutional theory and economics.The general approach can be described in simple terms as follows.There are global value chains, from resources to output that are in use.These chains change with time.Uncertainty and unpredictability prevail for the present state and for possible changes; to some extent it is possible to estimate risks of the future. At any moment, each organisation has taken some limited position on a chain.Each organisation has a hierarchy which lies above operations. Over time, chains, organisations, hierarchies, output and personal functions vary. According to the approach, insights into control problems for every organisation and system can be gained by analysing relationships between global value chains and a hierarchy of one or several organisations.Time is crucial.

Keywords: financial control; management control; public administration; financial entities; financial reporting; dependencies; function-driven organisations; pay-driven organisations; transfer-driven organisations; supervisory boards; mass media; auditors; natural systems; panarchy; pseudo-commercial units; inter-organisational control; long-term control; short-term effects; hierarchies; global value chains; vertical control; horizontal control; corporate governance; remote control; controllability; transparency; values-in-use; values-in-exchange; fair values; historical costing; opportunity costs; product costing; transfer pricing; local optimization; time-bound optimization; longitudinal relationships.

60 pages, April 16, 2009

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