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Competing logics in budgeting in a university setting in Tanzania

Tausi Mkasiwa (Department of Accounting and Finance, Institute of Finance Management, Dar es Salaam, United Republic of Tanzania)

Qualitative Research in Accounting & Management

ISSN: 1176-6093

Article publication date: 15 August 2022

Issue publication date: 21 October 2022




This study aims to investigate how actors’ responses to competing logics (academic and business logics) in budgetary practices in a university setting in Tanzania were shaped by state pressure, market pressure and organizational characteristics (funding certainty and changes in university ownership) and how actors’ agency was exercised in enacting competing logics.


The data for this study were collected from interviews, observations, informal discussions and document review. The data analysis processes were guided by institutional logic concepts and the role of actors’ agency.


The findings demonstrate how academic logic traditionally subsisted in a university setting in which there was funding certainty. Changes in the university’s ownership resulted in funding uncertainty. Market and state pressure increased the intensity of funding uncertainty, which supported business logic. While market logic supported the emergence of business logic, state pressure altered the balance of the competing logics. University actors responded by selective coupling and compartmentalizing where both elements of academic and business logics were enacted. While managers prioritized business logic, academics prioritized academic logic. However, the role of agency was exercised in actors’ responses, subverting both academic and business logics.

Practical implications

Managers should appropriately enact both elements of competing logics to avoid marginalization of some of the core university activities. In addition, profitable business ideas should be considered, identified, planned and implemented successfully. Moreover, there is a need to change the historically contingent and culturally situated environment when enacting competing logics. Furthermore, the state influence on universities should be considered to prevent unnecessary uncertainties in budgetary practices.


The paper demonstrates how selective coupling and compartmentalizing strategies were used by actors to enact both elements of competing logics in budgetary practices in a university setting. It further shows how actors’ agency influenced and subverted competing logics. The paper, thus, responds to the recent calls to investigate the influence of institutional logics on control practices, and the role of actors in strategically handling different logics in developing countries (Damayanthi and Gooneratne, 2017; Argento et al., 2020; Anessi-Pessina et al., 2016; Grossi et al., 2020). It further suggests new analysis of academic and business logics in their context.



The author is indebted to anonymous reviewers for providing constructive comments, which helped to improve the manuscript.


Mkasiwa, T. (2022), "Competing logics in budgeting in a university setting in Tanzania", Qualitative Research in Accounting & Management, Vol. 19 No. 5, pp. 633-664.



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