Participatory budgeting as a form of dialogic accounting in Russia: actors' institutional work and reflexivity trap

Evgenii Aleksandrov, Anatoli Bourmistrov, Giuseppe Grossi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose The purpose of this paper is to investigate how participatory budgeting (PB), as a form of dialogic accounting, is produced in practice. Design/methodology/approach This is a qualitative case study of PB development for the period 2013-2016 in one Russian municipality. Based on triangulation of in-depth semi-structured interviews, documentary analysis, videotape data and netnographic observation, the authors employ ideas of dialogic accounting and institutional work. Findings The study shows that the PB experiment, which began with dialogic rhetoric, in reality, had very limited dialogic effects. However, the authors also observed that the PB dynamics over time made the practice neither inherently monologic nor dialogic. The authors explained such transformations by the way in which the individual reflexivity of actors altered when carrying out institutional work. Curiosity reflexivity was the most essential, triggering different patterns of institutional work to set up the PB experiment. However, further, the authors demonstrated that, over the course of the experiment's development, the institutional work was trapped by various actors' individual reflexivity forms and in this way limited PB's dialogic potential. Originality/value The study shows the importance of understanding and managing individuals' reflexivity, as it shapes the institutional work performed by different actors and, therefore, influences the direction of both the design and materialization of dialogic accounting experiments such as PB. In a broader sense, this also influences the way in which democratic governance is developed, losing democratization potential.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1098-1123
Number of pages25
JournalAccounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Swedish Standard Keywords

  • Economics and Business (502)


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