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عنوان فارسی مقاله

منطق بودجه ریزی: نظریه پردازی و تغییر عملکرد در زمینه آموزشی

کد مقاله سال انتشار مقاله انگلیسی ترجمه فارسی تعداد کلمات
46 2012 23 صفحه PDF سفارش دهید 19430 کلمه
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عنوان انگلیسی
The logics of budgeting: Theorization and practice variation in the educational field
منبع

Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)

Journal : Accounting, Organizations and Society, Volume 37, Issue 5, July 2012, Pages 281–303

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مقالات حسابداری - نشریه
پیش نمایش مقاله
پیش نمایش مقاله منطق بودجه ریزی: نظریه پردازی و تغییر عملکرد در زمینه آموزشی

چکیده انگلیسی

This paper examines the introduction of budgeting practices in situations where institutional logics are competing. The empirical cases, studied in two phases in the 1990s and in 2011, explore tensions that emerged between the new business logic, prevailing professional logic, and governance logic in the education field. We analyze the theorization of budgeting practices and their performative effect on cognition in organizations. We argue that competing logics in a field impact upon budgeting practices and theorization of the meanings attributed to budgetary outcomes. Our study contributes to the understanding of accounting in processes of institutional change, and the further development of neo-institutionalist theory by attending to the sources of practice variation and their relationship to competing logics. We advance four tentative theoretical propositions concerning the impact of multiple logics upon budgetary practices.

مقدمه انگلیسی

“In general, we need more studies that connect institutional change to variation in the content of organizational practices.” (Lounsbury, 2001, p. 53) Many writers working with neo-institutionalist theory (NIT) have bemoaned the lack of research upon organizational micro-practices as counterweight to the focus upon cognitive, normative and regulative macro-structures (Hirsch, 1997, Hirsch and Lounsbury, 1997, Lawrence et al., 2009a, Leblibici et al., 1991, Powell, 2008, Reay et al., 2006, Schatzki, 2001 and Zucker, 1991). This micro–macro dualism could be criticized for overlooking the importance of the duality of structure (Giddens, 1984), but nonetheless the gap identified in research motivated by NIT is important in the sense that often the micro-foundations of institutional theory are rarely explicit (Lawrence and Suddaby, 2006 and Powell, 2008) and issues of agency occluded (Battilana, 2006, Battilana and D’Aunno, 2009, Cooper et al., 2008, Garud et al., 2007, Seo and Creed, 2002 and Thornton, 2008). Moreover, a recent strand of research has begun to question the focus of much empirical research in NIT upon the ‘diffusion’ of unitary practice throughout an organizational field with the result that variations in organizational practice have been marginalized or even assumed away ( Kraatz, 1996, Lounsbury, 2001, Strang and Meyer, 1993 and Westphal et al., 1997). This research has drawn attention to the importance of understanding the reasons for variation in organizational practices and calls for linking institutional change to such variation ( Lounsbury, 2001, Lounsbury, 2007, Lounsbury and Crumley, 2007 and Orlikowski, 2000). Particularly given the general interest in theorizing accounting as practice ( Ahrens and Chapman, 2007 and Ezzamel and Hoskin, 2002), there is a paucity of research of this type in the organizational NIT, and even more so in the accounting literature informed by NIT (Lounsbury, 2008). In this paper, we address the first research lacunae by focusing upon micro practices of institutional change (Powell, 2008) and accounting at a processual level in the context of broader shifting institutional logics (Lounsbury, 2007, Reay and Hinings, 2009, Thornton and Ocasio, 1999, Thornton, 2008, Marquis and Lounsbury, 2007 and Reay and Hinings, 2005). We are concerned to explore tensions, and consequences of those tensions, between logics competing in the field of education. This is in the context of the entry of a new and dominant business logic introduced into schools in England and Wales in the 1990s. We explore the enactment of regulatory reforms, at the level of practice, on institutional change in the organizational field of primary and secondary education in the UK; specifically, the emergence of new budgeting practices that colonized schools and occasioned a process of theorization, diffusion and variation in organizational practices. Since 1991 education organizations in the UK have adapted to new templates of governance and ‘management’ (Greenwood & Bob Hinings, 1996, p. 1022) in response, largely, to governmental regulations. Many of the recent legislative reforms to the funding and management of schools have imposed a new set of budgeting techniques, discourses and ideals on institutional organizations that had not seemed at ease with prevailing professional logic, that is, with existing values, assumptions and identities associated with the teaching profession. A business logic of education reform has generated new accounting technologies and practices in schools and municipal authorities with their own professional logics of practice (Edwards et al., 1998; Gunter & Forrester, 2010). The paper is also concerned with the second lacunae in institutional studies of accounting. As accounting techniques have entered more fully the management of educational organizations, our research provided the opportunity to study variation in organizational practices via our focus upon instances of theorization, performance and diffusion, and connecting institutional change to logics in the educational field. This theme (Barley and Tolbert, 1997, Greenwood and Hinings, 1996, Leblibici et al., 1991 and Munir, 2005) has received even less attention in accounting research on institutional change (Lounsbury, 2008). In accounting, researchers have explored how actors invent and articulate institutionalized expectations concerning organizational strategies and procedures of budgetary practices, emphasizing that the process of institutionalization is infused with power and interest within the organization and its field (Abernathy and Chua, 1996, Covaleski and Dirsmith, 1988, Covaleski et al., 1993 and Oakes et al., 1998). Studies of the isomorphic pressures on financial reporting and management control practices have been conducted (Mezias, 1990), emphasizing the importance of institutions and cross-national pressures to the understanding of accounting growth and regulation (Covaleski et al., 2003 and Hunt and Hogler, 1993). Others have considered the role of the state and the importance of legitimacy in understanding the rise and functioning of accounting and the accounting profession (Carruthers, 1995). Finally studies have shown some of the instability of organizational field (Vamosi, 2000), the role of fashions and fads (Carmona & Gutiérrez, 2003; cf. Abrahamson, 1991), and heterogeneous responses by organizations to institutional pressures (Brignall and Modell, 2000, Ezzamel et al., 2007 and Modell, 2001). Much, though not all, of the above research has been marked by a focus upon such issues as convergence and stability (Lounsbury, 2007 and Lounsbury, 2008). Recent interest in ‘management accounting change’ has promised a more dynamic frame of reference, though up till now that model of change has not been clearly defined (Burns & Scapens, 2000). However, with intellectual support to the endeavor of understanding ‘management accounting change’ our study draws more readily upon developments in the neo-institutional frame of reference and the impact of a new institutional logic upon an organizational field; institutional change in the field of education. In so doing we seek to link new field-level regulations and their cultural logics to the theorization and enactment of new organizational practices (Oakes et al., 1998), and their intertwining with existing logics and institutions (Greenwood et al., 2002, Jepperson, 1991 and Powell, 2008). The research site of the study focuses upon the intervention and development of accounting practices that accompanied the Local Management of Schools initiative (henceforth LMS), and in the process examine practice variations in and unanticipated consequences of institutional change, (Greenwood et al., 2002). We explore the impact of new accounting practices on actors’ cognition and how specific actions, associated discourses and effects emerge in organizational arenas with previously well-defined normative (professional) institutional logics as a result of the introduction of new institutional (business) logics relayed by accounting technologies. We note how, in the accounting process of rendering activities visible and thus ‘thinkable’, i.e. influencing cognition, those practices stimulate new actions and new problems of the performative roles of accounting technologies. The 1988 Education Reform Act (ERA henceforth) and the associated Local Management of Schools initiative were the primary instruments (‘precipitating jolts’, Meyer, 1982) in the ‘new accounting’ for educational organizations, though these regulations were just one aspect of a centralizing and marketizing proclivity of the UK Conservative governments during the 1980s and 1990s (Edwards, Ezzamel, & Robson, 1999). The 1988 ERA is the most comprehensive example of education reform through the introduction of accounting and management techniques and practices. The ensemble of administrative changes introduced by the LMS and the 1988 ERA clearly reflected the changing environment of schools. While these in turn can be analyzed as cultural and ideological changes in the school environment (Edwards et al., 1999), in this paper we consider the way in which the changes in the environment of schools diffused into and interacted with the extant logics of practice in schools in the practices of budgeting. The paper is organized as follows. The next section offers an overview of the connection between institutional logics and institutional change, emphasizing in particular theorizing, performance and cognition as key concepts. These constructs form the core concepts of our examination of the impact of accounting in the UK educational system. This is followed by a description of the research sites and methods. The case study section examines the institutional processes that operated upon the field of education in the UK during the 1990s, focusing in particular upon theorization and diffusion. To explore accounting diffusion, logics and practice variation, we examine two parallel aspects of budget calculation: the ‘new’ problem of budgetary shortfalls (over-spends) associated with the budget allocation and school staff expenditures, and the accumulation by schools of seemingly ‘excessive’ levels of budget under-spends (surpluses or ‘carry forwards’). Our research questions how it is that budgetary practices can give rise to these variations and the role of competing institutional logics in these variations. Our concern is to explore how fields with multiple logics enable institutional change. How do actors accommodate new logics and practices when their field has hitherto been structured by older logics? What roles do budgeting practices play in facilitating change? In the final section we comment on the tenuous nature of re-institutionalization and the processes through which organizational actors alter their institutions and practices (Ezzamel, 1994; Jepperson, 1991; Morgan and Willmott, 1995). We draw out four research propositions from our study as the focus for future work in the area. Conceptualizing institutional change: practice variation, logics and theorizing Institutional theory and the problem of institutional change have formed a complex relationship. As Dacin, Goodstein, and Richard Scott (2002, p. 45) have noted: “Institutional theory has often been criticized as being largely used to explain both the persistence of and the homogeneity of phenomena”, yet, in their view: “…this focus did little to tap the full potential or power of institutional theory”. Indeed, we agree that there are no particular reasons to assume that neo-institutional theory has no place in the analysis of changing practices: “Institutional theory neither denies nor is inconsistent with change. On the contrary, many institutional accounts are about isomorphic convergence, which implies movement from one position to another.” (Greenwood et al., 2002, p. 59). To address these problems, neo-institutional theory has in the recent past begun to attend more closely to mechanisms, processes and phases of institutional change (Barley and Tolbert, 1997, Dacin et al., 2002, Greenwood and Hinings, 1996, Greenwood et al., 2002, Leblibici et al., 1991, Oliver, 1992, Parush, 2009, Scott, 2001, Scott et al., 2000, Zilber, 2002 and Zilber, 2008). This attention has in turn promoted a closer attention to the development of the everyday practices that establish, sustain or disrupt institutions, the ‘micro-foundations of institutional theory’ (Lawrence and Suddaby, 2006 and Powell, 2008). For while, as Dacin et al. (2002) and Greenwood et al. (2002) acknowledge, isomorphism implied one kind of change progression, as Munir (2005, p. 93) argues: “It is with non-isomorphic change, however, that institutional theorists have traditionally run into problems. (Leblibici et al., 1991; Scott, 1987).” Yet examples of the analysis of practice variation exist. As Ansari, Fiss, and Zajac (2010, p. 71) note, several studies have explored how changes in the implementation process may follow different points in the diffusion process. Indeed since Tolbert and Zucker (1983) first suggested that institutional forces will overcome technical requirements leading to convergence over time, more studies have emerged both to record and conceptualize practice divergence and variation. Kraatz and Zajac (1996) highlighted the phases of local divergence that can occur in the diffusion of organizational innovations. Westphal et al. (1997) have showed how variation in a practice can be shaped by the stage of adoption. Early adopters of TQM showed more willingness to customize their TQM practices in pursuit of technical gains, than later adopters, who displayed greater concern to correspond to norms of ‘quality practice’ in their field. Weber, Davis, and Lounsbury (2009) have revealed how Stock Exchange practices (their ‘vibrancy’) were influenced by the coercive or the mimetic origins of the exchange.

نتیجه گیری انگلیسی

The focus of this paper has been upon the intervention of budgetary techniques in the field of school education in the UK occasioned by the 1988 Education Reform Act. Our aim has been to explore the roles of budgetary techniques in a field where dominant logics are in transition and multiple logics are competing. We observed how the practices of budgeting and the interpretation of budget outcomes were contested. Our findings showed how disputes over the very meaning of budget results produced ongoing conflict and were the drivers for budgetary reforms in the field of education that continued from the early 1990s up until the present. In Table 1, we outlined the characteristics of the extant logics and new dominant logic in education in the UK to show how the education field was being re-structured following government education. Although the introduction of business logics into public sector fields has been a prominent characteristic of ‘New Public Management’ changes, the extant logics of professionalism and governance have remained influential, and shaped the practices of budgeting since their introduction. In this concluding section, we develop four propositions concerning accounting and budgeting practices, and their interactions with processes of institutional change. We hope that these tentative propositions might stimulate further research and debate as to the role of accounting practices in institutional changes in other organizational fields. In order to enable business logics, we observed the introduction of resource allocation processes and the creation of centers with budgetary responsibility at school level. Budgets were the intended carriers of business logic in the field of education that in turn restructured school organizations. Senior Management teams, school bursars, governing boards and various ‘budget holders’ were identified in order to enable and delimit the new budgetary process. Budgeting, in our study operated both as a symbol of the new dominant logic and was constructed to develop practices in accordance with that logic. The new business logic of schools created not only the practices of budgetary planning, but also established new roles and identities for head teachers and teacher governors as responsibilized budget holders and decision- makers. LEAs no longer had an authority over schools that was unchallenged. These new roles and identities conflicted with the previous logic of governance in education, and the logic of and relations between teaching professionals: Proposition 1. Budgetary practices define new responsibilities and identities in a field that may conflict with roles and identities defined by extant logics. We saw how the calculation of budget shortfalls and budget surpluses both represented the schools. As new budgetary practices established new representations of the school and the field, then actors respond to changes according to these representations. School heads with unanticipated, unexpected and significant budget surpluses would defend the new logic and interpret surpluses in line with the rationales of the dominant logics. Those schools and teachers disadvantaged by the new budget calculations sought to interpret their situation that aligned with previous logics and which also challenged the rationality of the new logic: Proposition 2. Organizational actors disadvantaged by the introduction of new budgetary practices will align interpretations of budgeting with older logics. As we noted the debates and conflicts caused the phenomenon of budget balances – both favorable and unfavorable generated different responses and understandings. In LEAs whose political ideology was consonant with the political ideals of central government’s governance logic driving the educational reforms, LEAs used their governance and authority to promote changes supportive of the new business logic in schools. LEAs with differing governing political coalitions were more likely to be critical of the advantages and disadvantages enabled by budgeting and attempt to intervene to maintain previous notions of fairness or address perceived ‘unfairness’ or ‘deprivation’. In this way we noted that the governance logic of LEAs guided different responses according to the political rationalities their governance logic entailed: Proposition 3. Conflict between logics in a field is mediated by the homologies between the logics within the field and the logics outside of the field that propel new logics into a field. The conflicts between budgetary practices and the meanings put upon budgetary representations led to the implementation of reforms to budget practices over the period of our study. The LEAs attempted various reforms at local level to contain budget variations and to rationalize the holding of large budget carry forwards by schools. Yet the advice and the changes suggested by LEAs were insufficient to contain these budgetary outcomes and the conflict they engendered. From the late 1990s we instead saw various interventions (School Development Plans, National Guidelines on Excessive School Balances, Budgetary Control Mechanisms) by state agencies to influence and control these budget variations at school level. In this way we observed the paradox that in order to protect and reform budgeting interventions and actions were made by central government that reflected a governance logic rather than a business logic. While budgeting continues to hold a symbolic link to business logic, debates, conflicts and reforms (which we see continuing further as economic conditions deteriorate), reforms of its material practices have reflected the impact of conflicting logics, such as governance: Proposition 4. Through reforms, budgeting practices in a field come to reflect the influence of logics other than the logic that propels (symbolically) their entry into the field. Clearly these propositions have been constructed on the basis of our study of three LEA districts. There may be issues of generalizability beyond those areas. Yet we offer them for further consideration and research. We entitled this paper ‘The Logics of Budgeting’ to signal how budgeting practices can come to reflect and enable different logics in an educational field. Our study has, we hope, demonstrated the subtle and nuanced ways in which budgeting both enables changes in an organizational field, and becomes an object of variation, dispute, and reform in that field, where multiple logics prevail.

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