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Title: To what extent is there a connection between the personal characteristics of the public controller and the role or the activities of this controller?
Authors: Bruxvoort van, M.F.
Keywords: Controller
Personal characteristics
Issue Date: 23-Sep-2013
Publisher: Open Universiteit Nederland
Abstract: According to the accounting-literature the development of the (public) controller is in abundance. There would be a shift from a more controlling role (Watchdog, Bean-Counter, Corporate Policeman) to a more supportive role (Business Partner, Transformer, Business Advocate). There has been earlier research on the development of the controller role. Ten Rouwelaar & Bots, (2008) have researched the involvement of the controller and have focused themselves on the personal and organisational characteristics. These authors suggest that further research should be done, in order to answer the question whether controllers are selected based on their characteristics or whether they form their job and tasks around there characteristics. From this question my problem statement emerged: ‘To what extent is there a connection between the personal characteristics of the public controller and the role or activities of this controller?’ Verstegen et al., (2007), p.12, use the following definition of a controller: ‘A controller supports and advises the management of an organisation in reaching its economic, public and/ or Financial goals. Management includes planning, control and decision making. Support is interpreted in terms of the design and maintenance of accounting information systems and the procurement and distribution of information’. The duties of the controller are connected to the type of controller in a different research. This research examines whether the controllers within municipality X perform similar tasks. Van Egten & Veldman, (2006) discuss specifically in their work the role of the public controller and thereby make a distinction between the controlling and supporting role. In this research I agree with this dichotomy. There are several theories in the field of personal characteristics. In this research the theory of Myer-Briggs is used. By means of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is determined which personality the controllers have. As a result from the questionnaire it seems that four controllers possess the characteristics Extraversion, Intuition, Thinking, Perceiving (ESTP), one controller possesses the characteristics Extraversion, Sensing, Thinking, Perceiving (ESTP) and one controller possesses the characteristics Extraversion, Sensing, Thinking, Judging (ESTJ). According to earlier research from Briggs et al., (2007) controllers with the characteristics STJ are most known. In addition controllers with the characteristics STJ have a preference for a controlling role, according to Chen et al., (2012). In my research this comes forward to a lesser extent. Through semi-structured interviews the controllers were asked which tasks and activities they mainly perform. As a result it showed that there is no coherence between the tasks and activities of the controllers. Controllers with the same type of characteristics carry out completely different tasks and activities. On the other hand controllers with completely different characteristics carry out the same tasks and activities. Based on these results there seems to be no coherence between the personal characteristics and the tasks and activities they carry out. It can also be concluded that controllers are not selected within municipality ‘X’, based on their personal characteristics. After all, for all controllers there is a generic job description; however the personal characteristics are not the same with all controllers. Additionally it was examined whether other factors affect the tasks and activities which the controllers perform. Only the experience and age of the controller can be of influence. In further research this could be of interest. In further research the role of the organisational culture could also be of influence.
Appears in Collections:MSc Management Science

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