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Ritual legitimation, de-coupling and the budgetary process: Managing organizational hypocrisies in a multinational company

Fernandez-Revuelta Perez, Luis and Robson, Keith 1999. Ritual legitimation, de-coupling and the budgetary process: Managing organizational hypocrisies in a multinational company. Management Accounting Research 10 (4) , pp. 383-407. 10.1006/mare.1999.0114

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The study of participation in the budgetary cycle has formed a prominent part of the research literature concerned with the budgetary process. More recently there has emerged a body of literature concerned with exploring the political and symbolic nature of the budgetary process. The paper reports upon the outcomes of an empirical study of the introduction of `budgetary participation' in a division of a European subsidiary of a large North American car manufacturer. We detail the long process of consultation and negotiation within the subsidiary, and between it and the European Headquarters. The study provides a revealing instance of the roles of formal budget participation as a ritual of control and legitimation without the substantive involvement of middle managers and suggested to us the introduction of de-coupling and organizational hypocrisy alongside the introduction of budget participation. The study pays close attention to the contingent effects of the wider political context of the division and the relationships between the division, its organizational context and organizational environment, and how this context played upon the budgetary process in the division. The outcomes that we analyse at `Delta' reflect the de-coupling strategies and organizational hypocrisies commonly found in public sector organizations. In this wider setting the corporation persists with the ritual of `tight' budget negotiation and target setting and apparent underachievement in performance. Yet we conclude that the complex technological and political context to the formation and siting of Delta continued and may continue to support its existence.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Business (Including Economics)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Uncontrolled Keywords: budgeting; participation; de-coupling; organizational hypocrisy; legitimation.
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 1044-5005
Last Modified: 25 Jun 2017 04:24

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