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Title:An Analysis of the Decision-Making Process Utilized by the Illinois Office of Education in Preparing the Fiscal Year 1980 Operating Budget
Author(s):Dixon, Daniel, III
Department / Program:Education
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Education, Administration
Abstract:This study sought to describe and analyze the decision-making process used by the administrative staff of the Illinois Office of Education in preparing the operating budget allocations for fiscal year 1980. The study concentrated upon the routines and structures involved in the decision process. The work of an advisory council to the Executive Deputy Superintendent, known as the Permanent Budget Committee, served as a locus for the study.
Three organizing concepts were used to classify data. These were time, information flow, and hierarchy. These concepts were shaped from a preliminary analysis of the data, matched to conceptualizations from organizational theory.
Four decision-making models were applied to the data, as defined under the three organizing concepts, in an effort to ascertain which model best described and explained the events surrounding the budget process. The Garbage Can Model proposed by March and Olsen (1976) provided the best explanation when applied to all three concepts.
In an effort to check which model offered the best explanation when applied to organizational decision theory, the concepts of organizational choice, attention, and learning were applied to each model within the contextual parameters of the data. Again, the Garbage Can Model provided the most valuable insights.
The results of the analyses indicated that decision-making within this budgetary context was highly dependent upon the dynamics of the processes utilized. The interaction of the individuals involved, together with the structural parameters in which they operated, shaped the decisions found in the IOE budget book. The Incrementalism of Wildavsky (1974), which stresses the similarity of funding levels between fiscal years, and the political negotiation theories espoused by Natchez and Bupp (1973) were viewed as inadequate.
The analyses also showed that ambiguity can exist even in situations which appear to have well-defined routines. Agreement on goals, a clearly defined technology, and explicit deadlines do not necessarily exist, even in annual routines such as budget development.
The study recommends that top management should structure the budget development process in such a way that those responsible for the actual work have the same understandings as top management. This suggests that an ad hoc group, with differing formal responsibilities and time pressures, may be inappropriate for a task like budget preparation.
The research presented in this paper further recommends that analysis of decision-making within organizations must go beyond the agency level as a unit of analysis. The processes of actual decision making should be examined by methods which consider a broad range of variables, like the Garbage Can Model.
Issue Date:1980
Description:223 p.
Thesis (Educat.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1980.
Other Identifier(s):(UMI)AAI8108488
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-12-12
Date Deposited:1980

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