Human behavior and budgetary control
An important feature of control in business is that control is exercised by managers over people. Their attitudes and response to budgetary planning and control will affect the way in which it operates.
In 1953 Chris Argyris identified the following four perspectives of budgetary control:
The budgets are seen as a pressure device used by management to force lazy employees to work harder. The purpose of such pressure is to enhance performance but the unfavorable reaction of sub-ordinates against it seems to be at the core of the budget problem.
Budget men desire to see failure. The accounting department is usually responsible for recording actual achievements and comparing this against a budget. Accountants are therefore budget men and their success is to find significant adverse variances and identify the managers responsible. The success of a budget man is the failure of another manager and this failure causes loss of interest and declining performance.
The accountant, on the other hand, fearful of having his budget criticized by management deliberately makes it hard to understand.
Target and goal congruence. The budget generally sets targets for each department. Achieving the departmental targets becomes of paramount importance regardless of the effect this may have on other departments and the overall company performance. This is the problem of goal congruence.
Management style. Budgets are used by managers to express their character and patterns of leadership on sub-ordinates. Sub-ordinates resentful of their leader’s styles blame the budget rather than the leader.