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Article
Publication date: 15 July 2021

Ringa Raudla and James W. Douglas

How does the era of austerity affect flexibility and control in budget implementation? The execution phase of the budget has remained underexplored in the budgeting…

Abstract

Purpose

How does the era of austerity affect flexibility and control in budget implementation? The execution phase of the budget has remained underexplored in the budgeting literature. Theoretically, a crisis and austerity period may trigger changes in budget execution in one of two key directions: either toward greater control or greater flexibility. This paper seeks to uncover which outcome is more likely.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors conducted elite interviews of key officials involved in the budget execution phases in two European countries: Portugal and Austria.

Findings

The cases demonstrate that the experience of a fiscal crisis and period of austerity tend to lead to greater control and constrained flexibility in budget execution.

Originality/value

The execution phase of the budget process has remained underexplored in the public budgeting literature, and there has been only limited discussion on how the experience of austerity affects it. This empirical study of Portugal and Austria helps to shed light on that question.

Details

Journal of Public Budgeting, Accounting & Financial Management, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1096-3367

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Book part
Publication date: 9 June 2016

Maria T. Grasso and Marco Giugni

An important wave of anti-austerity protests has swept across Western Europe in recent years. We can thus distinguish between three different types of protest occurring in…

Abstract

An important wave of anti-austerity protests has swept across Western Europe in recent years. We can thus distinguish between three different types of protest occurring in Western Europe recently: “old” issue protests, relating to the trade union and labor movement; “new” issue protests, relating to culture and identity issues; anti-austerity protests, emerging directly in reaction to austerity measures and cuts enacted in the current period. Following previous literature, we hypothesize that anti-austerity protests have attracted a new constituency to the streets and that they will be different from both “old” and “new” protests in terms of their social composition, value orientations, and action repertoires. We expect anti-austerity protesters to be on the whole younger, and in more precarious working conditions, to be more concerned with economic over social issues, but also to be considerably less institutionalized and embedded in organizational networks, and to have fewer experiences of previous extra-institutional participation. We test these hypotheses by analyzing a unique and novel dataset containing data from over 10,000 protestors from 72 demonstrations (2009–2013). Our results lend broad support to our hypotheses with the exception of the idea that “precarity” forms a new social base for anti-austerity protests.

Details

Protest, Social Movements and Global Democracy Since 2011: New Perspectives
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78635-027-5

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Book part
Publication date: 22 November 2014

Andrea Prothero and Pierre McDonagh

This paper adopts a photo-essay approach in examining the Austerity Project within the Republic of Ireland, and considers the intersection between consumer culture and the…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper adopts a photo-essay approach in examining the Austerity Project within the Republic of Ireland, and considers the intersection between consumer culture and the austerity visuals we experience daily.

Methodology/approach

A visual, photo-essay method is adopted. Visual images taken in urban and rural parts of Ireland – under the key themes of ghost housing estates, failed commercial property developments, failed business, and art representations are explored.

Findings

The visual representations and subsequent consumption activities of the authors illustrate how austerity has become a complex act of production and consumption, and the authors consider how these various representations play a role in creating austerity as a state of mind amongst consumers, and the subsequent impact this has on consumption practices, consumer experiences, ideals and identities.

Originality/value

This paper adopts an under-represented research methodology (a photo-essay) to explore the Austerity Project and its intersections with consumer culture.

Details

Consumer Culture Theory
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78441-158-9

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Abstract

Details

Corbynism: A Critical Approach
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78754-372-0

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Abstract

Details

Digital Media and the Greek Crisis
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78769-328-9

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Article
Publication date: 10 June 2020

Isabelle T. Szmigin, Deirdre Mary O'Loughlin, Morven McEachern, Kalipso Karantinou, Belem Barbosa, Grigorios Lamprinakos and María Eugenia Fernández-Moya

In the context of European consumers’ experiences of austerity, this study aims to advance current resilience theory in marketing through developing persistent resilience…

Abstract

Purpose

In the context of European consumers’ experiences of austerity, this study aims to advance current resilience theory in marketing through developing persistent resilience from a context of austerity influenced consumption.

Design/methodology/approach

Following an interpretivist approach, 38 face to face, in-depth interviews were conducted with European consumers from Ireland, UK, Spain, Portugal, Italy and Greece who were affected in some way by the global financial crisis.

Findings

Building upon limited conceptual and empirical investigations in social geography, the analysis identifies the themes of persistent stressors and temporal orientation as constants, alongside day-to-day coping, relating and pragmatism, consumer adjustment, repertoires of resistance and transformation as key elements of persistent resilience within the consumption context of austerity.

Research limitations/implications

The study addresses the limited theoretical and empirical focus on persistent resilience and austerity and directly contributes to consumer behaviour and marketing theory in understanding persistent resilience and its implications.

Practical implications

Changes to behaviours as a result of persistent resilience included reducing and stopping consumption, discount shopping, alternative consumption in the form of growing or making and mindful consumption through wastage reduction and re-use.

Social implications

The study highlights the significant social impact of austerity while also identifying positive outcomes for social relations among family, friends and the wider community.

Originality/value

This study develops and extends Golubchikov’s (2011) theory of persistent resilience through exploring European consumer responses to austerity, identifying key consumption characteristics relevant for marketing theory and practice.

Details

European Journal of Marketing, vol. 54 no. 8
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0309-0566

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 27 June 2019

Vincent Onyango, Paola Gazzola and Geoffrey Wood

The purpose of this paper is to establish the evidence for, the why and how recent austerity policy atmosphere associated with the UK government affected environmental…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to establish the evidence for, the why and how recent austerity policy atmosphere associated with the UK government affected environmental protection decisions within planning in Scotland.

Design/methodology/approach

A qualitative analysis based on perspectives gathered via questionnaire survey targeted at stakeholders involved in planning in Scotland was undertaken. The questionnaire responses were analysed thematically, supplemented by using statistical tests of significance and variance to show how responses differed across participants.

Findings

The evidence showed that austerity policy atmosphere resulted in a pervasive neoliberal imperative of resuscitating the economy; whilst producing subtle and adverse effects on environmental decisions. This was best understood within a neo-Gramscian perspective of hegemony, borrowed from the field of political economy of states.

Research limitations/implications

The gathered views were constrained within unknown biases that the participants may have had; and because the case study approach was not equipped to generalise the results beyond the study, more research testing cause-effect between the austerity and selected environmental parameters is needed, from various contexts.

Practical implications

Decision-making frameworks should explicitly acknowledge the unique pressures during austerity periods; and contemplate resilient decision-making frameworks that can withstand the hegemonic tendencies which prioritise economic goals above environmental ones.

Originality/value

Whilst the area of austerity’s impacts on the environment remains poorly evidenced, empirically, this seminal paper uses robust analysis to establish how the austerity policy atmosphere affects environmental decisions. This is insight into what may be happening in other similar situations outside Scotland, raising concern as to whether and how we should approach the challenge of hegemonic ideas.

Details

Management of Environmental Quality: An International Journal, vol. 30 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1477-7835

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Article
Publication date: 17 August 2015

Enrico Bracci, Christopher Humphrey, Jodie Moll and Ileana Steccolini

The era of austerity that has followed the outbreak of the global financial crisis has posed a myriad of challenges for public services, with demands for major cuts in…

Abstract

Purpose

The era of austerity that has followed the outbreak of the global financial crisis has posed a myriad of challenges for public services, with demands for major cuts in government spending, the delivery of balanced budgets and zstrategies for deficit reduction. The purpose of this paper is to consider how public sector accounting and accountability systems are implicated in the development and implementation of austerity policies. Also, it pinpoints a range of issues that accounting researchers need to be contemplating on the subject of accounting for austerity.

Design/methodology/approach

Interdisciplinary literature review, coupled with an illustrative discussion of the changing nature of public sector accounting practices under austerity.

Findings

Despite the significance and scale of austerity, public sector accounting research on the topic is in its infancy, with the prominent focus being on how accounting technologies are used to manage austerity. There have been few attempts to debate critically the construction of austerity and to provide alternative accounts of austerity. Accounting for austerity, especially in terms of its implications and consequences, is far too complex and challenging to be categorized as simply seeking to “balance the books”.

Research limitations/implications

As an academic community, we need to be developing understanding of public sector accounting research under austerity across different organizational levels and contexts. Also, we should be framing the accounts of austerity in ways that respect and build on a sound understanding of the extensive available interdisciplinary research on this topic. Key research questions to address include: how is accounting shaping constructions of, and impressions, attitudes and behaviors toward, austerity and the status of governments and public service organizations? What do such patterns of development mean for the roles and contributions of public sector accountants under austerity? Are accounting systems destined to be used primarily as vehicles for cost-cutting, or can they be used as engines for growth and for thinking about public service responsibilities in more socially inclusive forms?

Originality/value

Accountings of austerity in the field of public sector accounting research have been worryingly limited. This paper and the papers in this special issue of AAAJ address such failings, revealing a range of critical implications and challenges of austerity policies for public sector accounting research.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 28 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 17 August 2015

Berend van der Kolk, Henk J. ter Bogt and Paula M.G. van Veen-Dirks

The purpose of this paper is to examine how management control (MC) within governmental departments is used in times of austerity, and how insights from agency and…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine how management control (MC) within governmental departments is used in times of austerity, and how insights from agency and stewardship theory can enhance the understanding of this issue.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors distinguish two types of MC (constraining and facilitating) based on their different assumptions regarding human behavior (agent-like and steward-like). The authors empirically analyze changes in the use of these types of MC in four cases located in two municipalities. The collected data consists of 51 semi-structured interviews, desk research and multiple field observations.

Findings

The authors find that MC at the departmental level becomes more constraining in times of austerity. The authors suggest that an overemphasis on constraining MC has negative consequences. It can, for instance, evoke agent-like, opportunistic behavior while it disregards potential steward-like behavior. These negative consequences are less prevalent when there is a simultaneous increase in emphasis on the use of facilitating MC elements.

Originality/value

The authors acknowledge “human ambivalence,” i.e. an employee’s recurring choice between agent-like and steward-like behavior, and illustrate the dangers of overly relying on constraining types of MC. The authors also contemplate alternative strategic managerial responses to austerity in a public sector context.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 28 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

Keywords

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Book part
Publication date: 18 October 2014

Lee Pugalis, Alan Townsend and Lorraine Johnston

The form of crisis-governance responses to austerity urbanism that is the focus of this paper is ‘fleet-of-foot’ partnerships. These non-statutory mechanisms which…

Abstract

Purpose

The form of crisis-governance responses to austerity urbanism that is the focus of this paper is ‘fleet-of-foot’ partnerships. These non-statutory mechanisms which champion dispersed forms of leadership are crafted in policy discourse as lean, mean, crisis-tackling fighting machines. Their perceived agility and entrepreneurialism are often lauded, yet empirical evidence for these traits remains sparse. This paper investigates this concern through the lens of the Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) in England, which are deemed by some to exude some of the defining characteristics of ‘fleet-of-foot’ mechanisms.

Design/methodology/approach

A mixed method approach was utilised, including analysis of socio-economic datasets and qualitative policy analysis of primary and secondary material. The quantitative element includes analysis of employment and journey-to-work data, whereas the qualitative material originated from a review of LEP proposals, and narrative analysis of transcripts of interviews undertaken since 2010, together with other textual artefacts.

Findings

The findings reveal that dispersed public leadership is problematic as a mode of crisis-governance. LEPs were adopted as a crisis-governance fix. These loose (or looser) constellations of many, varied actors, are considered to be more flexible, responsive and delivery-orientated than more traditional and statutory democratic-administrative mechanisms: lean, mean, crisis-tackling fighting machines. Flexibility is a primary trait of ‘fleet-of-foot’ configurations and perhaps the defining feature of LEPs.

Research limitations

The programme of research remains on-going, which reflects the continual shifts in the form and configurations of LEPs.

Practical implications

Detecting some of the primary weaknesses of ‘fleet-of-foot’ public leadership arrangements, the research draws attention to some of the dangers of pushing austerity down and through ‘fleet-of-foot’ formations. The practical implications are highlighted by examining the limits of LEPs to achieve efficient outcomes or to open up a shared leadership space.

Originality/value

Through an engagement with current conceptual and policy debates where austerity ‘blows out’ across Europe, it is observed that austerian politics may be pushing partnership bodies too far, thus risking the danger of overburdening and under-resourcing the very distributed leadership mechanisms that are expected to reconcile local economic crises and stimulate local growth. This paper also contributes to the literature on dispersed public leadership, which runs counter to traditional command and control leadership constructs.

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