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The interaction between motivational disposition and participative budgeting: Evidence from a bank

Niels Sandalgaard (Aalborg University, Aalborg, Denmark)
Per Nikolaj Bukh (Aalborg University, Aalborg, Denmark)
Carsten Stig Poulsen (Aalborg University, Aalborg, Denmark)

Journal of Human Resource Costing & Accounting

ISSN: 1401-338X

Article publication date: 5 April 2011




The purpose of this paper is to report the findings of a study of how dispositional factors of motivation rooted in personality interact with participative budgeting to affect budget goal commitment.


The study is based on a survey among bank managers from a Scandinavian regional bank. To assess the motivational disposition of the bank managers, the short version of the multi‐motive grid test (MMG‐S) is used. The management accounting variables are measured by traditional and well‐tested instruments.


The results indicate that the effect of increased budgetary participation on budget goal commitment is largest for subordinates with a high need for power or a low need for affiliation. For subordinates with a low need for power or a high need for affiliation the effect of budgetary participation is small.

Research limitations/implications

The study confirms that the interaction between personal‐level psychological variables, e.g. motives, and situational variables, e.g. budget participation, determine action, e.g. budget commitment. Taking personal‐level variables into consideration in research on management accounting systems are thus important in studies which include individual level factors.

Practical implications

The practical implications are that a general management concept, as budget participation, should be applied with knowledge of how situational factors will interact with the personal characteristics of the involved employees.


Most management accounting research that uses psychological theory, focuses on the effects of management accounting on the minds and behaviour of individuals and not on the effect of individual's minds on management accounting as this paper does. The paper is the first to use the MMG‐S in a management accounting study.



Sandalgaard, N., Nikolaj Bukh, P. and Stig Poulsen, C. (2011), "The interaction between motivational disposition and participative budgeting: Evidence from a bank", Journal of Human Resource Costing & Accounting, Vol. 15 No. 1, pp. 7-23.



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Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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