Users in preparers’ shoes: Mobilizing the sense of belonging in popular report development in Local Governments Sandra Cohen
Uploaded by Sandra Cohen     Uploaded date: October 17, 2023    
Publication date
October 15, 2023
Paper language
Purpose – The scope of this study is to explore informed citizens’ engagement in the development of real municipalities’ popular reports. For this purpose, an exploratory experiment is performed where potential users of popular reports with certain accounting skills (i.e., groups of undergraduate accounting students) act as preparers of these reports.
Design/methodology/approach - The study uses insights from the sense of belonging theory in an ambivalent way: to explain citizens’ interest in popular reports and to consider popular reports as an impetus triggering citizens’ sense of belonging. By content-analyzing the reports developed and taking stock of the students’ perceptions on aspects of popular reports, a template for a popular report for local governments is synthesized. Further, by comparing our findings with theoretical recommendations and popular reporting practices we offer insights on the content and layout of popular reports which is expected to enhance the sense of belonging of citizens within their city.
Findings - The undergraduate students while relying on earlier examples and existing models have created their own reports in which they have used financial and non-financial information indicating the significance of both types of information for citizens. The evidenced heterogeneity in the developed reports is expected to be the effect of the sense of belonging. Moreover, the study reveals citizens’ positive stance towards the adoption of co-development and co-creation approaches in the design of popular reports by citizen groups and municipal authorities which is consistent with a sense of belonging mobilization.
Originality - This study adds to the literature on the content and characteristics of popular reports by giving voice to the citizens themselves through an exploratory experiment that permits the sense of belonging to take effect.
Preferred Citation

Cohen, S. and Karatzimas, S. (2023), "Users in preparers' shoes: mobilizing the sense of belonging in popular report development in local governments", Journal of Public Budgeting, Accounting & Financial Management, Vol. 35 No. 6, pp. 199-218.
Popular reporting; Sense of belonging; Co-development; Local governments; Non-financial reporting;
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Type of Paper
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