Behavioral perspective of budgeting; an exploratory study set in two fertilizer companies
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This study examines budgeting from three different perspectives. 1. Industry practices and the importance of budgeting to organizations. 2. The relationships between the objectives of budgeting (planning evolution, motivation, coordination and education) and certain organizational variables viz. technology, participation, superior, subordinate relationship, need for independence and technical qualification. 3. Interrelationships among, participation, evaluator style, need for independence, performance and technology are studied in the context of budgeting. The fertilizer industry is the setting for the field study. An experiment, in which 71 students of a business school participated, was performed to generate additional data and to validate some of the findings of the field study. Methodology: Questionnaire data was obtained from six companies in the industry and from plant managers of two organizations, senior managers in these two organizations. Senior managers in these two organizations were also interviewed. Company records and publications pertaining to the industry were used to assess the importance of budgeting to organizations and to understand budgeting practices in the industry. The Findings 1. Organizations in the industry use budgets for planning. Budgets are established for all major departments. 2. Performance against the budget is not used for evolution or motivation. 3. The periodicity with which performance is reviewed is low. 4. Operating managers spend little time on the budget activity indicating that it is not viewed as important for day to day operations. 5. Technical education, technology and participation are positively associated with certain dimensions of budgeting viz. planning, coordination and evaluation. 6. Superior subordinate relationship and need for independence are negatively associated with motivation, coordination, evaluation and education. 7. Participation is positively associated with attitude and also with relevance. 8. Need for independence is positively associated with attitude but not participation. 9. Superior-subordinate relationship is positively associated with both attitude and participation. 10. The experimental study does not show an association between participation and performance or between participation and attitude. 11. The evaluator style is not associated with either attitude or performance. 12. Setting budgets does not appear to improve performance. 13. A new look at the impact of participation, budgeting and nature of the task is in order. The study indicates the existence of certain objectives or control. An understanding of the relationship between these objectives and organizational variables aids in the design of control systems and in diagnosing problem areas in the operation of various control systems. The mapping of various interrelationships between dimensions of control on the one hand and organizational variables on the other helps in developing a theory of control systems.
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