GRA 6232 Management Control

GRA 6232 Management Control

Course code: 
GRA 6232
Accounting and Operations Management
Course coordinator: 
Hanno Roberts
Course name in Norwegian: 
Management Control
Product category: 
MSc in Business - Accounting and Business Control
2024 Spring
Active status: 
Level of study: 
Teaching language: 
Course type: 
One semester

The management accounting or controller role has recently undergone drastic changes. The former “bean counter” has made room for the internal business consultant, acting as a translator of financial information into meaningful business scenarios for managerial decision making at senior and/or divisional or business-unit level.
The context of accounting has become one of flexible, decentralized organizations with a strong strategic and service orientation. The accounting toolkit itself has experienced similar changes, and now includes tools and approaches that explicitly incorporate competitive strategy arguments while adopting multiple levels of analysis. The active use of technology for analytical and reporting purposes has equally increased in importance, and is embedded in the various topical elements of this course.
This course addresses the knowledge and skills as necessary to fulfil a Controller or CFO role in organizations. It is related to the courses Project and Relationship Management (E2) and Advanced Management Accounting (P2) of the CIMA professional qualification as Chartered Global Management Accounting™.

Learning outcomes - Knowledge

After completing the course, students should have knowledge about:

  1. Management control; including financial and non-financial performance measurement, performance report generation and integration with responsibility centres, budget control and its behavioral consequences, and alternatives to budgeting as a control mechanism.
  2. Performance measurement and management; financial and non-financial metrics, analysis of performance reports, and the relationship between performance and organization design, notably with respect to team-based structures.
  3. Theoretical perspectives on control: the instrumental and functional perspective, the behavioral perspective, and the organisational perspective.
Learning outcomes - Skills

After completing the course, students should be able to:

  • Make decisions using accounting and control information
  • Manage projects and processes (people skills)
  • Use information systems and analytical technologies
  • Develop teamwork, time management, and group decision-making competences (Interpersonal skills)
  • Create and substantiate an analytic line-of-argument (argumentative skills)
General Competence

Reflective skills acquired are in the managerial awareness that numbers drive behaviour, and, vice versa, behaviour drives numbers. Furthermore, the integration of financial and non-financial information (e.g., on sustainability or CSR) requires professional integrity and an ethical stance towards business consequences and computational outcomes.

Course content

Topics covered include:

  • management control as a package of cultural, cybernetic, and administrative controls
  • organisation design as a management control vehicle
  • budgeting, forecasting, and 'beyond budgeting';
  • control and performance management of responsibility centres;
  • contemporary developments in management control (e.g., digitalisation, sustainability);
  • F&A software systems and visual analytics as platforms for the CFO/Controller.
Teaching and learning activities

The course is designed into three streams - Theory, Tools, and Tradecraft - and is grouped in 4 clusters of 3 sessions each. The clusters cover the link between strategy & stakeholders and control, the link between organization design and control, the design of performance measurement systems, and technology platforms as interfaces for management control. Two of the teaching hours in this course are dedicated to CSR, ethics, social and environmental issues.

Every cluster will cover all three streams of Theory, Tools, and Tradecraft. An individual session is dedicated to either Theory, or Tools, or Tradecraft. The theory sessions provide conceptual frameworks and perspectives on control. The tool sessions cover the instrumental aspects and elements of management control. The tradecraft sessions focus on immersion in the praxis of a CFO/Controller role, emphasizing the tacit knowledge needed to navigate in a business-partnering environment. Tradecraft sessions revolve around casework presentations by students, CFO/Controller guest speakers from practice, and developing course paper-based insights on a self-selected topic within Management Control. The course paper acts also as warm up for the Master Thesis in developing the ability for conceptual thinking.

The learning process is based on the ‘flipped classroom’ model in which students need to prepare in advance, and class sessions are used for integration of learning efforts.

Advance preparation is group-based and takes entirely place on the MIRO visual collaborative platform while ItsLearning is used as a passive back-up of materials only.

A pre-set learning journey is established on MIRO which students follow chronologically. Student groups work on MIRO for the analysis of readings, the preparation of cases, and the stepwise development of the course paper.

Students work within groups, a larger group for casework and smaller groups for the course paper and the analysis of readings. The larger groups are subject to group composition requirements as related to gender diversity and internationalization while the smaller groups are without any group composition requirements. All student groupwork follows a steady learning pace with calendar deadlines for hand-ins and feedback, which will all be on MIRO.

Cases questions need to be answered and analytically supported. Cases are selected to reflect the uncertainty and complexity of managerial decision-making, requiring both interpretation and judgement as well as analytical prowess. Cases will change and be updated every repetition of the course.

Computer-based tools
The use of ChatGPT or any other AI engine is explicitly encouraged. When used for analysis of readings, proper referencing in the bibliography, similar to website visits, is required. When used for development of the course paper or the case work, the prompting sequence is to be submitted in an Appendix.

All students will need to acquire the badges “Miro Essentials” and “Diagramming and Mapping” from Miro Academy, before access to the pre-set learning journey on MIRO is granted. The two Miro badges are formally accepted by LinkedIn in the “Licenses & Certifications” category.

Software tools
Software defined under the section "Teaching and learning activities".
Additional information

This is a course with two exam components, both based on groupwork. The group grade of the casework is subsequently adjusted and individualized based on the in-group peer evaluation.

The exam for this course has been changed starting academic year 2023/2024. The course now has two exam codes instead of one. It is not possible to retake the old version of the exam. Please note new exam codes in the Exam section of the course description. 

It is the student’s own responsibility to obtain any information provided in class.


All courses in the Masters programme will assume that students have fulfilled the admission requirements for the programme. In addition, courses in second, third and/or fourth semester can have specific prerequisites and will assume that students have followed normal study progression. For double degree and exchange students, please note that equivalent courses are accepted.


Deviations in teaching and exams may occur if external conditions or unforeseen events call for this.

Exam category: 
Form of assessment: 
Handin - all file types
1 Semester(s)
Cases (included in one submission)
Exam code: 
GRA 62322
Grading scale: 
Examination when next scheduled course
Exam category: 
Form of assessment: 
Written submission
Group (2 - 3)
1 Semester(s)
Term paper.
Group composition will be based on student self-selection.
Further specifics on the what and how of the term paper will be included in the course outline/syllabus.
Exam code: 
GRA 62323
Grading scale: 
Examination when next scheduled course
Type of Assessment: 
Ordinary examination
All exams must be passed to get a grade in this course.
Total weight: 
Sum workload: 

A course of 1 ECTS credit corresponds to a workload of 26-30 hours. Therefore a course of 6 ECTS credits corresponds to a workload of at least 160 hours.