Continuing the search for a theory of public budgeting

Joan M. Gibran (Tennessee State University)
Alex Sekwat (Tennessee State University)

Journal of Public Budgeting, Accounting & Financial Management

ISSN: 1096-3367

Publication date: 1 March 2009

Abstract

This paper argues that the search for a theory of public budgeting has proceeded mainly on assumptions of the rationalist paradigm. This approach yielded mostly technical explanations for budgeting phenomena. These explanations fail to capture the complexities of public budgeting and yield incomplete theories. Without attempting to break new ground, the authors argue that budgeting theory should be guided by heuristic concepts borrowed from open systems theory. This offers greater potential for reconciling the rational and non-rational aspects of budgeting and permits constructive synthesis of insights from extant theories of budgeting without rejecting the rationalist paradigm. This approach views budgeting as only one of the complex functions governments perform to cope with their environment and to maintain stability.

Citation

Gibran, J.M. and Sekwat, A. (2009), "Continuing the search for a theory of public budgeting", Journal of Public Budgeting, Accounting & Financial Management, Vol. 21 No. 4, pp. 617-644. https://doi.org/10.1108/JPBAFM-21-04-2009-B005

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Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2009 by PrAcademics Press

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