Modernity, modernization and the de-institutionalisation of incremental budgeting in local government
Financial Accountability and Management, 19, (2), . (doi:10.1111/1468-0408.00165).
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Governmental reform programs in the UK have a long history of failed attempts to end incrementalism in local government budgeting. Drawing on structuration theory, incrementalism is presented as institutionalized organizational behaviour. From this perspective, the recent New Labour reform agenda may be interpreted via a theory of de-institutionalization. The approach is illustrated through an analysis of recent developments in a large UK metropolitan authority where new political structures, inspection regimes and regulatory pressures are beginning to challenge incrementalism. A new belief in the measurability of public sector performance seems to be legitimized by a post-bureaucratic modernity rather than any significant technical innovations.
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