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Budgetary fairness and governmental program heads' turnover intention

A. Blair Staley (Department of Accounting, College of Business, Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania, Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania, USA)
Nace R. Magner (Department of Accounting, Gordon Ford College of Business, Western Kentucky University, Bowling Green, Kentucky, USA)

Managerial Auditing Journal

ISSN: 0268-6902

Article publication date: 18 April 2008




Empirical evidence from governmental budgeting and related organizational decision‐making contexts suggests that program heads will be less likely to leave their governmental unit when they feel that governmental budgeting is fair. The purpose of this study is to examine relationships between three forms of fairness in governmental budgeting – distributive fairness, procedural fairness, and interactional fairness – and program heads' intention to leave the governmental unit.


Questionnaire data were gathered from 87 US federal government program heads with budget responsibility and analyzed with multiple regression.


Interactional budgetary fairness had a significant and positive unique relationship with intent to leave after controlling for the other two forms of budgetary fairness and three demographic variables. Neither distributive budgetary fairness nor procedural budgetary fairness had a significant unique relationship with intent to leave.

Practical implications

Budgetary decision makers and budget staff in governmental units can reduce program heads' intention to leave the governmental unit by promoting interactional budgetary fairness through steps such as treating the program heads with kindness and respect during budgeting and providing clear and adequate explanations for budgetary decisions.


This study is the first to examine relationships between the three forms of organizational decision‐making fairness and turnover intention in a governmental budgeting context.



Blair Staley, A. and Magner, N.R. (2008), "Budgetary fairness and governmental program heads' turnover intention", Managerial Auditing Journal, Vol. 23 No. 4, pp. 405-417.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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