Interpreting the dynamics of public sector budgeting: a dialectic of control approach

Seal, William and Ball, Amanda (2011) Interpreting the dynamics of public sector budgeting: a dialectic of control approach. Financial Accountability & Management, 27, (4), 409-436. (doi:10.1111/j.1468-0408.2011.00531.x).


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Developing a dialectic of control theoretical framework, the paper shows how the theory may be applied to explain turbulence in public sector budgeting. Applying the framework to fieldwork research in two large UK local authorities, the study explores the knowledge and intentionality of actors engaged in budgeting. Focusing on a crisis in educational funding, cognitive issues based around unreliability of cost and planning data were significant factors behind tactical successes for local budgetees. Central government, however, was able to exert power through its ability to change the rules, leading to new structures for public education provision. The dialectical framework avoids the reductionism and functionalism that characterises some of the budget gaming literature and also has potential implications for interpreting step changes in public funding

Item Type: Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): doi:10.1111/j.1468-0408.2011.00531.x
ISSNs: 0267-4424 (print)
1468-0408 (electronic)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HF Commerce > HF5601 Accounting
Divisions : University Structure - Pre August 2011 > School of Management
Faculty of Business and Law > Southampton Law School
ePrint ID: 182575
Accepted Date and Publication Date:
18 October 2011Made publicly available
November 2011Published
Date Deposited: 28 Apr 2011 09:34
Last Modified: 31 Mar 2016 13:36

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