Critical Approach to Accountability during Delegated Budget Constraints:
Linking Burns & Scapens to Habermas

A4 Conference proceedings

Internal Authors/Editors

Publication Details

List of Authors: Jean Claude Mutiganda, Giuseppe Grossi, Lars G. Hassel
Place: University of Ottawa, Telfer School of Management
Publication year: 2015
Book title: Conference papers


This article analyses how budgetary delegation institutionalises accountability as a mutual communicative process among budgetary actors. It uses the theory of communicative action to extend the Burns and Scapens (2000) institutional framework to accountability. Field research in two public sector health care organisations shows that budgetary delegation leads to different institutions of accountability. The differences depend on how management uses delegated budgets as a tool of communication, aiming to reach mutual understanding among budgetary actors. Giving budgetary actors a possibility to explain and influence their budgets increases their accountability commitment. Budgetary delegation cannot be taken for granted, however, to institutionalise accountability that improves the use of accounting information in communication between management and budgetary actors at different levels of hierarchy. The theoretical contribution of the article is to show the relevance of communicative rationalities underlying budgetary delegation in institutionalisation of accountability among budgetary actors.


Accountability, Budgetary Delegation, Communicative action, Giving Accounts, Habermas, Institutional Change, Public sector

Last updated on 2019-22-08 at 04:53