Constructing the accurate forecast: an actor-network theory approach
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/approachThis 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.FindingsThe 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/valuePrior 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”.