Annual Budgeting Becomes an Exercise in How Authority is Enacted
Academic deans adopt one of three approaches when developing the annual budget report for their colleges: distributed authorship, delegated authorship, or dominated authorship. Depending on the approach they select, deans can include and collaborate with their senior teams—or exclude, ignore, and alienate them. Their choice demonstrates how they lead.
Abstract: Few studies have investigated how academic deans enact their authority in Responsibility Center Budgeting (RCB), despite its widespread adoption. In this article I explore findings from a study that investigated how deans crafted a confidential annual budget report at an American university. Ultimately, deans adopted one of three approaches to crafting the report: delegating, distributing, or dominating authorship. Deans who distributed authorship collaborated with their senior teams to establish a shared sense of priorities for their colleges. In contrast deans who delegated and dominated authorship ignored and alienated members of their senior team during the budget review, engendering confusion and frustration.