Scott Lazenby Books

Welcome to the official web site for author Scott Lazenby

human side of budgeting front coverMost current books on government budgeting focus on the policy process for making budget decisions. They also focus almost exclusively on the federal budget. The Human Side of Budgeting instead approaches the budget from a local government management point of view, and makes the case that traditional budget systems work against almost everything we know about good management (i.e., that most of our employees are not, in fact, lazy and stupid).

The Human Side of Budgeting was written both for pre-career students of public management as well as more senior managers who wonder why their budgeting systems produce such pathological behavior in their staff and governing bodies.



“It might sound like an oxymoron to refer to a book about budgeting as engaging, but this one is. The Human Side of Budgeting is well written and provocative throughout. Lazenby’s argument is audacious enough to cause the optimistic reader to stay with it because it offers an alternative to a system that is a continuing source of frustration and for the doubter to remain engaged because it looks as if there just has to be a catch somewhere .”

Phillip Cooper, author of By Order of the President & Professor, Portland State University Hatfield School of Government

“This book makes an important contribution to a critical piece of the puzzle for those wanting to move from expenditure-based budgeting to revenue-based budgeting.”

Douglas Morgan, co-author of Local Public Budgeting

“In creating The Human Side Of Budgeting Scott Lazenby has provided us with a book that fits perfectly between tomes on the politics of public budgeting and the texts and handbooks on the mechanics of public budgeting. The fact that no one has filled this niche before is as astounding as it is disheartening.”

Jim Hough, City Manager Emeritus, Banks, Oregon

“I really, really like this!”

Phil Keisling, Director, Center for Public Service, Portland State University & former Oregon Secretary of State

Table of Contents:


The Roots of Budgeting in the Reform and Progressive Movements

Are Employees Lazy and Stupid…or Something Else?

Theory X and Traditional Budget Processes

Toward a Theory Y Approach to Budgeting

Theory Y Budgeting in Practice

Theory Y Budgeting: Implementation and Options

Why Don’t All Governments Do It This Way?

Current and Future Research

Beyond Budgeting

Appendix A – The Uselessness of Budget Tricks in a Theory Y Organization