Why the annual budget is not dead : Contingencies affecting the relevance of the budget critique
The aim of this study is to investigate how companies within different industries that use budgets perceive the critique that has been raised against it. As such, this study explores whether the companies find the critique valid and if so, whether and how they have managed to cope with the problems that the budget has been argued to entail. Additionally, this study explores the potential impact that the external and internal context of the budget may have on these perceptions. Utilizing on a qualitative case study research design, our findings indicate that the relevance of the critique is contextually contingent with regards to both the external and the internal environment of a company. Consequently, the likelihood for the alleged problems of the budget to appear is greater when the alignment between a company’s external and internal environment and the employed budget purpose is poor, and/or when the budget’s cohesiveness with other management control systems within a certain management control system-package is deficient. Thus, in contrast to the critics, we argue that budgets should not be seen as a static and stand-alone practice as it evidently constitute a multifaceted and contingent practice.
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