When organizations deinstitutionalize control practices: A multiple-case study of budget abandonment


European Accounting Review

December 2014, vol. 23, n°4, pp.593-623

Departments: Accounting & Management Control, GREGHEC (CNRS)

Keywords: Deinstitutionalization, Budgeting, Budget abandonment, Beyond Budgeting

Drawing on a framework of deinstitutionalization, this study explores the abandonment of budgeting through a multiple-case study of four companies. The findings illustrate how a number of antecedents to deinstitutionalization acted in each setting and show that abandonment was only achieved through skillful agency by dominant insiders to construct the need and manage for change. In addition, an interesting finding of the study is that two of the four companies reversed the deinstitutionalization and re-introduced traditional budgeting. This is explained by highlighting the role of remnants of formerly institutionalized practices and by demonstrating the importance of administrative and cultural controls which can support the abandonment of a central control practice in the first place. Overall, this research extends previous studies of deinstitutionalization by analyzing a taken-for-granted practice at the micro level and by giving a more agentic account of its processes