The authors present a comparative analysis of the processes and strategies by which public organizations implement retrenchment in the face of continued budget shortfalls. The focus is on the governments of the fifty United States and public institutions of higher education in the nine states of the Northeast. Special consideration is given to the programs that have been tried, sources of ideas for the strategies adopted, and constraints that institutions face when dealing with financial crises. While similarities were found for state governments and colleges and universities in use of past strategies and short-term fixes, differences were found in the sources of ideas and the implementation of plans affecting employees. The research suggests that these differences may be attributed to the differences in organizational culture.



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