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

Jean Claude Mutiganda, Giuseppe Grossi, Lars G. Hassel

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedingConference contributionScientificpeer-review


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.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Title of host publicationConference papers
Publication statusPublished - 2015
MoE publication typeA4 Article in a conference publication
Eventconference; 2015-04-17; 2015-04-18 - 2015 ALTERNATIVE ACCOUNTS CONFERENCE
Duration: 17 Apr 201518 Apr 2015


Conferenceconference; 2015-04-17; 2015-04-18


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

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