Public Administration Quarterly Vol.13 No.3

Public Administration Quarterly
Budget System Approach
Thomas D. Lynch
Florida International University.

By taking what is know about our physical and social world without some means to organize that knowledge, we are easily confused and find it difficult to use that knowledge. [1] We need frameworks to organize our concepts. If those frameworks also define interrelationships among our know concepts and facts, then we have advanced our understanding to a more useful level of cognition. Theory is merely a set of ideas which address the question of interrelationships with more useful or powerful adding to our insight. For many, “theory” also must contain specific conditions for its own refutation. If not, then we have a “model,” “framework,” approach,” or “perspective.” Normative theory tell us how to conduct our lives using those interrelations. Descriptive theory explains interrelations without assuming we should use any particular set of values in our dealing with the new knowledge. Descriptive theory can be used for value oriented purposes and its creation can be motivated by values. However, it is merely an attempt to define interrelationships such as physical or social phenomena.

This article proceeds by exploring the call for a theory of Public Budgeting (upper case denotes the study of Public Budgeting and lower case denotes the practice of public budgeting) made by V.O. Key, Jr., explaining a particular approach developed by this author which is offered as an alternative to the suggestion made by Key, and finishing by explaining the potential significance of the suggested approach.

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