The introduction of program budgeting in the Sydney College of Advanced Education: a case study in budgetary change
Universities, over the past two decades, have introduced a range of sophisticated management accounting techniques and budgeting systems, for the collection of information, the internal distribution of resources and strategic decision-making. However, some budgeting systems mechanisms together with resource distribution mechanisms were introduced in the 1980s into, what were often considered inferior and less sophisticated higher education institutions—Colleges of Advanced Education. This study documents the introduction of program budgeting into the Sydney Institute of Education, an institute of the Sydney College of Advanced Education. The impetus for this change was a Federal Government requirement that costs to be reported by discipline. The study reports the methods used to implement changes in an existing budgeting system, including organisational restructuring of academic departments and specific problems of implementation. The outcome, in terms of meeting the objectives of the decision to introduce program budgeting and the changes in structure and organisational behaviour are also chronicled. The benefits of this initiative were lost in 1989 when forced amalgamations within the higher education sector resulted in the 2 disestablishment of SCAE and its component parts and their absorption into four Sydney metropolitan universities.