ERIC Number: ED214468
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1982-Mar-20
Reference Count: 0
Rational Budgeting? The Stanford Case.
Chaffee, Ellen Earle
The budget decision making process at Stanford University, California, from 1970 through 1979 was evaluated in relation to the allocation of general funds to 38 academic departments. Using Simon's theory of bounded rationality and an organizational level of analysis, the Stanford decision process was tested for its rationality through triangulation, mixing qualitative and quantitative methods. The elements that must be present for rational decision making required that the provost who directed Stanford's budget process must have had a consistent set of budget allocation priorities throughout the decade; that he considered a wide range of expenditure alternatives simultaneously rather than sequentially; that he made budget decisions himself, with information about the likely effects and costs of each request; and that his choices were consistent with his prior goals. It is suggested that the provost considered the following four priorities to guide his decisions about allocating general funds in the operating budgets: academic importance, student interest, possibility for excellence in the program, and funding potential. The number of alternative expenditure requests considered by the provost is documented, and the evidence indicates that he made simultaneous decisions. Content analysis of the rationales for expenditure requests is evaluated along with a regression equation to determine whether the provosts made choices consistent with prior goals. Although the results suggest that the process was rational, the decision processes probably conform to more than one theoretical model. In addition, the decision process and decision outcome may be independent, so that one cannot be predicted from the other. A bibliography is appended. (SW)
Descriptors: Administrators, Budgeting, Case Studies, College Administration, College Role, Decision Making, Educational Objectives, Expenditures, Higher Education, Information Utilization, Models, Needs Assessment, Operating Expenses, Organizational Objectives, Organizational Theories, Private Colleges, Resource Allocation
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Provosts; Stanford University CA
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (New York, NY, March 1982).