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ESMT Working Paper

Can capital constraints restrain creativity? The spillover effect of budget constraints on employee creativity

ESMT Working Paper No. 17-03
Francis de Véricourt, Jeffrey Hales, Gilles Hilary, Jordan Samet (2017)
Finance, accounting and corporate governance
Budgetary controls, budgets, creativity, capital constraints, originality
When setting budgets, managers may place constraints on how resources can be used in an effort to mitigate opportunistic behavior by subordinates. These restrictions can affect the ability of the subordinate to succeed in the budgeted task, but may also have an unintended spillover effect on the ability to innovate. Using an experiment, we find that individuals working under higher budgetary constraints are more efficient in their use of budgeted resources, but are less successful in the budgeted tasks, than their counterparts working under lower budgetary constraints. Importantly, we find that imposing budgetary constraints also causes employees to subsequently generate fewer highly original and creative ideas in an unrelated activity. These findings suggest that budget structures can have unintended consequences on the innovative capabilities of organizations. This paper contributes to the expansive budgeting literature by showing budgetary control design has organizational performance implications beyond the specified budgeted activity.
ISSN (Print)