University of Oulu

Henttu-Aho, T., Järvinen, J.T. and Lassila, E.M. (2023), "Constructing the accurate forecast: an actor-network theory approach", Meditari Accountancy Research, Vol. 31 No. 7, pp. 116-132.

Constructing the accurate forecast : an actor-network theory approach

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Author: Henttu-Aho, Tiina1; Järvinen, Janne T.1; Lassila, Erkki M.2
Organizations: 1Department of Economics, Accounting and Finance, Oulu Business School, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
2Department of Accounting and Finance, Turku School of Economics, University of Turku, Turku, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.2 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Emerald, 2023
Publish Date: 2023-05-12


Purpose: This paper empirically demonstrates the major organizational events of a rolling forecasting process and the roles of controllers therein. In particular, this study aims to investigate how the understanding of a “realistic forecast” is translated and questioned by various mediators in the rolling forecasting process and how it affects the quality of planning as the ultimate accuracy of forecasts is seen as important.

Design/methodology/approach: This study follows an actor-network theory (ANT) approach and maps the key points of translation in the rolling forecasting process by inspecting the roles of mediators. This qualitative case study is based on interviews with controllers and managers involved in the forecasting process in a single manufacturing company.

Findings: The paper identified two episodes of translation in the forecasting process, in which the forecast partially stabilized to create room for managerial discussion and debate. The abilities of controllers to infiltrate various functional groups and calculative practices appeared to be one way to control the accuracy of forecasting, although this was built on a façade of neutrality.

Originality/value: Prior literature identifies the aims of interactive planning processes as being to improve the quality of planning. The authors apply ANT to better understand the nature of mediators in constructing an entity called a “realistic rolling forecast”.

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Series: Meditari accountancy research
ISSN: 2049-372X
ISSN-E: 2049-3738
ISSN-L: 2049-372X
Volume: 31
Issue: 7
Pages: 116 - 132
DOI: 10.1108/MEDAR-03-2022-1613
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 5141 Sociology
512 Business and management
Funding: The authors also gratefully acknowledge the financial support from the Marcus Wallenberg Foundation.
Copyright information: © 2023, Tiina Henttu-Aho, Janne T. Järvinen and Erkki M. Lassila. Published by Emerald Publishing Limited. This article is published under the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY 4.0) licence. Anyone may reproduce, distribute, translate and create derivative works of this article (for both commercial & non-commercial purposes), subject to full attribution to the original publication and authors. The full terms of this licence may be seen at