Controlling in times of change



When you hear the term "controlling" - what's the first thing that comes to mind? Do you perhaps think of tables and number crunching? If so, it doesn't have much to do with modern controlling, a relatively young and now independent business management discipline.


Controlling is more than just the consolidation and preparation of accounting-based information for operational decision-makers and, in its current form, goes beyond management accounting and reporting.


Today, controlling is much more about actively shaping corporate management. Controllers perform planning, information and coordination tasks and act as a kind of business partner with whom to discuss the company's development and new plans.

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Controllers can now draw on a variety of helpful tools as part of their work, such as key performance indicators, incentive systems, budgets and strategic planning tools. The various models, methods and techniques for structuring and evaluating information play a major role in the instrumental view of controlling.


The functional view of controlling focuses on the specific controlling content and tasks. Controllers are seen as cross-functional advisors who support and relieve the burden of decision-making on management at very different levels in the company. Thus, controlling is assigned an operational cross-sectional function that is interlinked with all other business management disciplines as personnel, logistics, procurement, production as well as marketing and sales controlling.


The institutional aspect addresses the organizational integration of controlling into the company. The focus is on the people who run controlling, the qualifications of those responsible for controlling, and the influence of their characteristics on controlling processes.

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Structure of our lectures

A consistent case study



The lectures of the chair deal thematically with the instrumental, functional and institutional aspects of controlling. To ensure a coherent understanding, we have designed a case study that accompanies lectures and exercises.


It illustrates in a practical way the development of controlling from the start-up phase ( in the lecture "Kostenrechnung") to a medium-sized company (in the lecture "Controlling"). The structure of the case study thus repeatedly provides new starting points for problems and tasks that arise and need to be solved by controlling.

Our undergraduate courses:

instrumental perspective

Our course offerings for students in the bachelor's program include the lectures "Kostenrechnung" and "Grundlagen des Controlling" as well as the two seminars "Ausgewählte Themen des Controlling" and "Controlling im internationalen Kontext".


First-year students attend the course "Kostenrechnung" to develop a basic understanding of what costs are and how they are calculated "correctly" or "economically sensibly". Market conditions and costs for production and distribution, which are decisive for the price at which a company can sell products and services on the market, are discussed in this course. Students will become familiar with German-style costing with its three basic levels of "cost type, cost center and cost unit accounting" as well as revenue and profit accounting as instruments of controlling.

The instrumental perspective of controlling is also the focus of the bachelor course "Grundlagen des Controlling", which builds on this. We will continue to deal with cost accounting systems and explore the question of how costs can be planned, how overhead costs can be allocated "according to cause" and how fixed costs can be handled. Furthermore, key figures, instruments of operative and strategic planning as well as incentive systems will be discussed. The aim of the course is to provide students with the necessary understanding of coordination and control for controller work.


In the bachelor seminar "Ausgewählte Themen des Controlling", students can further deepen their controlling knowledge. We offer a wide range of different topics each semester, some of which go beyond the purely instrumental perspective of controlling and already prepare students for the functional and institutional perspective taken in the master program.


The seminar "Controlling im internationalen Kontext" rounds off our range of courses and also welcomes students from the GBM program. It is aimed at students who are interested in country-specific differences in controller practice and the particularities of controlling in international companies.


Our courses in the master´'s programm:

functional and institutional perspective

Our course offerings for students in the master program include the courses "Controlling", "Behavioural Controlling" and "Advanced Controlling" as well as the seminars "Topics in Behavioural Controlling", "Controlling in der Praxis" and "Methoden der Controllingforschung".


In the master course "Controlling", the basics learned in the bachelor program are taken up and used for a change of perspective towards functional controlling. The examination of different controlling subareas (procurement controlling, logistics controlling, production controlling, etc.) forms the core of the course and is intended to make clear that controlling should not only be seen in the context of "accounting and finance". Rather, large parts of controlling are located in the real economy and deal with time, quality and process information.


The master course "Behavioural Controlling" addresses the institutional perspective on controlling and turns the focus to the behavioral component. The aim is to use psychological theories and concepts to analyze, understand and avoid dysfunctional behavior in companies in the long term. The focus is not on how to generate and provide the right business information, but on what happens when this information is used in the organization. The classical view of the business decision maker, which has grown out of the assumptions about homo economicus, is abandoned here. Among other things, students learn about the influence of information perception and processing on decision-making processes.   


Companies face an increasingly complex and challenging environment. In order to deal effectively with these challenges, controllers are needed who are able to design control concepts that make this complexity manageable. This requires deeper insights into central drivers of this development from a controlling perspective, such as increasing regulation, sustainability trends and digitalization. The master course "Advanced Controlling" addresses these areas and uses a flipped classroom concept to teach thinking structures, tools and problem-solving skills to meet these requirements.


In the seminar "Topics in Behavioural Controlling" participants are asked to prepare pre-selected research-relevant journal articles in terms of content and to discuss them in the group. This is intended to provide insights into controlling research and to deepen the behavioral aspects of controlling covered in the lecture "Behavioural Controlling". The seminar is aimed at students who would like to write a master thesis at our chair.


In the seminar "Controlling in der Praxis" participants will gain a multifaceted insight into the field of activity of a controller. On the basis of selected practical examples, both the behavioral aspects from the lecture "Behavioural Controlling" and the cross-functional perspective on controlling from the lecture "Controlling" will be deepened and solutions will be worked out to prepare the participants for the controlling practice. This seminar is aimed at students who would like to write their master thesis at our chair and who aspire to a professional career in controlling.


In the seminar "Methoden der Controllingforschung" research methods relevant for controlling research are discussed and applied by the seminar participants. This seminar is aimed in particular at students who, after completing their master thesis, wish to pursue a further scientific career.