Budget Formality and Informality as a Tool for Organizing and Governance Amidst Divergent Institutional Logics

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Accounting, Organizations & Society

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This historically informed field study examines a period of budget process change at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In so doing, it provides an in-depth examination of the ability of budget process to serve as a forum for debate and compromise between disparate logics for action, and to manage periods of change within institutionally complex environments. Our analysis addresses two primary concerns: 1) the nature of divergent institutional logics and resulting pressure for heterogeneous institutional change; and 2) formal and informal budget process change as a tool to successfully manage institutional complexity through time. This study echoes those of hybrid organizations generally, where the ability to selectively draw upon multiple logics for action is a significant asset in managing the coexistence of competing logics through time. Our focus on budget processes builds upon these results by emphasizing the distinction between formal and informal logics and highlighting the gradual nature of institutional change.


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