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Spending constraints in state budgets have resulted in a need to evaluate the effects of alternative budgeting techniques. We study public school administrations, where…
Spending constraints in state budgets have resulted in a need to evaluate the effects of alternative budgeting techniques. We study public school administrations, where improvements in budgetary processes could help align system goals with reduced levels of funding. A budgeting technique, called strategic budgeting (SB), emphasizing information symmetry and mutual monitoring, is investigated in a nonprofit setting by comparing it to a traditional budgeting (TB) method. The experiment finds that the effect of reduced spending previously discovered in a corporate setting are also evident in a not-for-profit setting. Results indicated an overall cost savings with SB of almost 25 percent. Public school administrators made spending decisions in a hypothetical three-year task and provided comments to justify their decisions. These comments along with anecdotal evidence from prior field research indicate that collaborative characteristics in a budget format may reduce unnecessary spending.
Prior research indicates that incorporating information symmetry into budgeting processes can reduce slack. This study investigates a new budgeting format, Strategic…
Prior research indicates that incorporating information symmetry into budgeting processes can reduce slack. This study investigates a new budgeting format, Strategic Budgeting, which incorporates information symmetry via mutual monitoring through a “group budget buffer”, or pool, that supports funding non-budgeted expenditures. Department managers must seek approval from other managers to use pooled funds. We compare this budget format to a traditional format, which does not incorporate information symmetry, and investigate differences in spending decisions among managers. The results overwhelmingly show that groups using Strategic Budgeting spent less of a budget excess than those using Traditional Budgeting. The effect of the availability of unspent funds for a subsequent year's budget was also compared, with results indicating that this factor may potentially mitigate benefits gained from information symmetry over time. This study is the first to experimentally examine the effects of this new type of budgeting technique, as compared to Traditional Budgeting, on managerial budgeting behavior.