Local Government Budgeting: A Managerial Approach

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Start with the main objectives and work them into the budget. This process will help the government address current financial needs and ensure that there will be funds for future needs. When reviewing progress, focus on outcomes. Citizens are often more content when they know where their tax money was spent, why their taxes went up or why the government was forced to cut certain programs. Collaborate with department heads and elected officials and come up with a strategy to address the designated problems.

Budgeting for Local Government

Execute the plan and then be sure to report the results back to the community. Every government department has a role and a duty to its citizens. Often, department heads have the best suggestions for how best to allocate funding for their needs. The easiest way to get buy-in from department heads is to give them some say in identifying their budget needs.

This is often the easiest path to finding ways of making investments that actually result in savings in the line-item budget items. Department heads and employees want to know where their department fits into the budget process. Communication is actually a major part of the budgeting process. Specialization reflects the amount of specific knowledge and skills which are needed to perform tasks in the organization Damanpour Damanpour, F. It can be expected that specialization is positively related to innovation, because it allows employees to focus on a specific field and enables them to acquire expert knowledge Jones Jones, G.

Organizational Theory, Design, and Change. Formalization concerns the degree of regulation by written rules that activities in the organization are subject to. Employees have less leeway for the execution of a task if the degree of formalization is high, which is generally believed to increased routine rather than innovation Walker Walker, R. Centralization expresses to which extent decisions are made on the top levels in the hierarchy Jakobsen and Thrane Jakobsen, M. Centralized organizations might be less innovative, because fewer people are involved in processes and potential ideas of others are excluded Damanpour Damanpour, F.

Specialization, formalization, and centralization are parameters of the structure that determines the nature of tasks that are performed by organizational members. Organizational complexity is a concept that is used to describe the superstructure of an organization. Below, hypotheses are formulated for the direct and indirect relationships between functional differentiation, organizational size, and participatory innovation.

Although the relationship between innovation and structural parameters such as formalization, centralization, and specialization has been examined in research of private and public sector organizations e.

Fundamentals of Municipal Budgeting

Damanpour Damanpour, F. The first dimension of organizational complexity, functional differentiation, is expected to be positively related to the occurrence of innovation. The more an organization is functionally differentiated, the more separate departments with distinct tasks it has. As a result, in these departments, employees with specific knowledge emerge Aiken and Hage Aiken, M. Due to their narrowed focus, these experts can come up with new ideas in their specific fields Aiken and Hage Aiken, M.

In addition, the collaboration of experts in or across departments leads to cross-fertilization Aiken and Hage Aiken, M. In their meta-analyses, Damanpour Damanpour, F. We expect that this positive relationship also applies to participatory innovation, because scholars who have focused on this type have argued that the organizational structure is a relevant predictor for participatory innovation Ebdon and Franklin Ebdon, C.

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From the theoretical reasoning and empirical findings, the following hypothesis is formulated. Hypothesis 1: Functional differentiation is positively related to the occurrence of participatory innovation. The second dimension of organizational complexity is organizational size. The size of an organization can be determined by the number of employees or the size of the budget of an organization Aiken and Hage Aiken, M.

Some authors have indicated that organizational size has a negative influence on the occurrence and adoption of innovations. One main argument is that larger organizations are less flexible than smaller organizations and consequently change is less likely Damanpour Damanpour, F. A second main argument is that more formalization is needed to control a larger organization, which in turn results in a lower degree of innovation Hitt, Hoskisson, and Ireland Hitt, M.

Hoskisson , and R.

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Some authors have indicated that organizational size has a positive relationship with innovation. Larger organizations tend to have larger pools of resources, especially in terms of personnel Nord and Tucker Nord, W. Implementing Routine and Radical Innovations. The Issues in Organization and Management Series. Lexington : Lexington Books.

The Politics of Local Government Stabilization Funds

Thus, they have a larger pool of potential expertise, knowledge, and viewpoints, as well as more financial resources. In addition, due to their size and the additional resources, large organizations can take more risks and be innovative Audia and Greve Audia, P. Hence, the following hypothesis will be tested. Hypothesis 2: Organizational size is positively related to the occurrence of participatory innovation.

Functional differentiation and organizational size are both expected to affect innovation positively, but through different mechanisms. Although researchers of organizational complexity have empirically examined the two concepts as equivalent dimensions, it has been suggested that there may be a hierarchical ordering in their relationship to innovation.

Authors of previous studies have proposed that the positive relationship between organizational size and innovation can partly be understood as an indirect relationship through functional differentiation Blau Blau, M. Such a view is also supported by contingency theory. Contingency theory thus suggests that organizational size and functional differentiation are not independent, because increased organizational size causes greater functional differentiation.

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In this study, we therefore examine this issue by testing the following hypothesis. Hypothesis 3: The relationship of organizational size and participatory innovation is mediated by functional differentiation. To test our hypotheses, we followed a quantitative approach. The cases for this study are municipalities, which ensured that the investigated organizations have an equal mission and similar tasks. In this study, we tested our hypotheses in municipalities in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia due to three reasons.

First, we focused on Germany because participatory budgeting is not common there yet and can still be seen as an innovation Schneider and Busse Schneider, S. Out of examined municipalities, 64 have adopted participatory budgeting. Second, we narrowed the focus down to one state, because not all of the states have significant numbers to test our assumptions. North Rhine-Westphalia has enough municipalities with participatory budgeting to analyse in a large-N design. Third, we also expected that municipalities in North Rhine-Westphalia differ among the explanatory variables, which allows us to test our assumptions in this population.

North Rhine-Westphalia consists of municipalities, and all of them were investigated. All variables were measured using administrative information. As compared to research based on questionnaires, the use of administrative data can have several advantages as well as disadvantages for research on social entities such as municipal governments Dunleavy Dunleavy, P. An advantage of the use of administrative data is that the population of organizations can more readily be examined, rather than a statistically representative sample. This makes it possible to avoid technical problems with survey-based research such as small sample sizes, extensive nonresponse, and missing data on key variables among respondents of the survey.

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Because data collection through administrative data is based on nonreactive researcher-subject interactions, organizations need not be alerted that a study is being conducted. Unobtrusive measurement of variables therefore precludes subjects to misrepresent or edit responses Dunleavy Dunleavy, P.

A disadvantage of the use of administrative data is that some relevant characteristics of organizations may not be registered in a reliable or valid manner and therefore cannot be included in a study. Researchers must thus be attentive to accidental or purposive misrepresentation of data in administrative sources. The use of administrative data also enables the combination of different data sources, thereby avoiding common-source bias that is a possible threat to single-informant, survey-based investigations of public sector innovation George and Pandey George, B.

We obtained the measures for the variables for the year , and we measured functional differentiation using data obtained in The control variables of political support and voter turnout were measured for the election year Data regarding the occurrence of participatory budgeting was exclusively gathered by using an existing statistic. The use of participatory budgeting in the municipalities that we studied ranged across seven different possibilities: decision, early form, introduction, continuation, cancellation, discussion, and no status.