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Experiencing institutionalization: the development of new budgets in the UK devolved bodies


  • Mahmoud Ezzamel
  • Noel Hyndman
  • Åge Johnsen
  • Irvine Lapsley
  • June Pallot


Purpose - This paper aims to examine an early stage of the institutionalization of accounting practices in devolved UK governments, concentrating on: the construction by devolved bodies of a “rational” set of planning and budgeting documents; the extent of homogeneity/heterogeneity in organizational response to seemingly similar institutional pressures; and politicians' cognition of accounting numbers. Design/methodology/approach - The paper uses neo-institutional theory to examine the planning and budgeting documents of the devolved bodies and material gathered from semi-structured interviews. Findings - The findings point to a process of nested translations, from mission through aims and objectives to targets, with accounting numbers present only in the last stage whereby time-bounded targets are formulated and used to assess achievements. Because of the negotiations around the diverging interests of actors, the translation process is neither linear nor stable. Originality/value - The paper contributes to the literature by: examining the emergence and use of new accounting and budgeting systems in political organizations; understanding the experience of institutionalization of accounting practices; and exploring the impact of accounting reform on political deliberation and joined-up government.

Suggested Citation

  • Mahmoud Ezzamel & Noel Hyndman & Åge Johnsen & Irvine Lapsley & June Pallot, 2007. "Experiencing institutionalization: the development of new budgets in the UK devolved bodies," Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 20(1), pages 11-40, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:eme:aaajpp:v:20:y:2007:i:1:p:11-40

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Mahmoud Ezzamel & Noel S. Hyndman & Åge Johnsen & Irvine Lapsley & June Pallot, 2004. "Has Devolution Increased Democratic Accountability?," Public Money & Management, Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy, vol. 24(3), pages 145-152, June.
    2. Anthony Downs, 1957. "An Economic Theory of Political Action in a Democracy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 65, pages 135-135.
    3. Meyer, John W., 1986. "Social environments and organizational accounting," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 11(4-5), pages 345-356, July.
    4. Mahmoud Ezzamel, 2002. "Accounting for Private Estates and the Household in the Twentieth-Century BC Middle Kingdom, Ancient Egypt," Abacus, Accounting Foundation, University of Sydney, vol. 38(2), pages 235-262.
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:eee:aosoci:v:60:y:2017:i:c:p:62-78 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Andrews, Matthew R., 2009. "Isomorphism and the Limits to African Public Financial Management Reform," Scholarly Articles 4415942, Harvard Kennedy School of Government.
    3. repec:rss:jnljms:v7i5p3 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. repec:dau:papers:123456789/6741 is not listed on IDEAS


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