Permanent link to Research Commons versionhttps://hdl.handle.net/10289/16096
Purpose: The purpose of this study is to understand the efforts of key social actors in influencing the reform of Iranian public universities budgeting system, from incremental to performance-based budgeting (PBB), the tensions that arose as competing efforts of institutional change were undertaken, and ultimately the impact of these efforts on of the extent to which the Iranian government transitioned to a system of PBB in public universities. Design/methodology: Data comprises of semi-structured interviews with managers and experts involved in the budget setting process and an analysis of budgetary policy documents, reports and archival material such as legislation. An institutional work lens is employed to interpret the findings. Findings: While actors advocating the change were engaged in institutional work efforts of disrupting the old budgetary rules by disassociating the rules moral foundations and creating new budgetary rules (through new legislation), universities undertook subtle resistance by engaging in extended evaluation of the new proposed PBB rules to maintaining the old budgetary rules. The reforms undertaken to introduce PBB in Iranian universities achieved minimal success whereby incremental budgeting continued to constitute by far a larger percentage of the budget allocation formula for university budgets. This finding illustrates change and continuity in university budgetary systems resulting from institutional work of actors competing for control of resource allocation basis under the proposed PBB but proposing contradicting models. Practical implications: The findings highlight the importance of understanding the interplay of institutional work undertaken by competing social actors as they seek to advance their goals in shaping the budgetary reform in the public-sector. Such an understanding may inform policy makers who intend to introduce major reforms in public-sector budgeting approaches. Originality: Unlike prior studies that largely focused on how organisation-level budgeting practices responded to changes in public budgeting rules (i.e., at the site of implementation of the rules ), this paper highlights how strategies of change and resistance are played out at the site of setting budgetary norms.
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This is an author’s accepted version of an article published in Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal. © 2021 Emerald.
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