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Implementing management accounting reforms in the public sector: the difficult journey from intentions to effects


  • Inger Johanne Pettersen


The aim of this paper is to gain more insight into the link between management accounting reforms and organizational learning and change in the hospital sector. In particular, the focus is put on the processes of defining and interpreting accounting information in this complex setting of public sector management. In 1997 the Norwegian government made a radical change in the hospitals' payment system. The hospitals' adjustments to these different systems of budget constraints are analysed by data from the county of Nordland and a case study in a university hospital clinic. The studies show that the hospitals adjusted to the frame budget system from 1991-7 by systematically creating budget deficits, which are identified as budget drivers during this period. The case study shows that the leaders at the clinical level made a different conceptualization of the new funding model than that of the government. Owing to these diverse conceptualizations and concrete experiences at different institutional levels, more ambiguity will occur in controlling hospital activity and cost under the new per-case funding system.

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  • Inger Johanne Pettersen, 2001. "Implementing management accounting reforms in the public sector: the difficult journey from intentions to effects," European Accounting Review, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 10(3), pages 561-581.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:euract:v:10:y:2001:i:3:p:561-581
    DOI: 10.1080/713764632

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Preston, Alistair M. & Cooper, David J. & Coombs, Rod W., 1992. "Fabricating budgets: A study of the production of management budgeting in the national health service," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 17(6), pages 561-593, August.
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    2. repec:fan:macoma:v:html10.3280/maco2018-001006 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Marco Giovanni Rizzo, 2014. "La relazione tra il livello di coinvolgimento nel processo di budget, il commitment verso gli obiettivi, la soddisfazione lavorativa e i relativi risvolti sulla performance manageriale. I risultati di," MANAGEMENT CONTROL, FrancoAngeli Editore, vol. 2014(1), pages 9-34.
    4. Macinati, Manuela S. & Rizzo, Marco G., 2014. "Budget goal commitment, clinical managers’ use of budget information and performance," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 117(2), pages 228-238.
    5. repec:eee:crpeac:v:27:y:2015:i:c:p:144-159 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Stamatiadis, Filippos & Eriotis, Nikolaos, 2011. "Evolution of the Governmental Accounting Reform implementation in Greek Public Hospitals: Testing the institutional framework," MPRA Paper 28816, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. Christophe Maurel, 2006. "Étude d’un changement organisationnel dans de grandes collectivités territoriales:l’évolution de la fonction contrôle de gestion," Revue Finance Contrôle Stratégie,, vol. 9(3), pages 105-134, September.
    8. repec:eee:crpeac:v:24:y:2013:i:7:p:518-531 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. J. Christiaens & V. Van Peteghem, 2004. "Governmental Accounting Reform: Evolution Of The Implementation In Flemish Municipalities," Working Papers of Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Ghent University, Belgium 04/256, Ghent University, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration.

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