Corporate governance in the Victorian public health sector

Fitzpatrick, Maree (2008) Corporate governance in the Victorian public health sector. PhD thesis, Victoria University.


This thesis sets out to investigate the meaning, understanding and application of corporate governance in a public sector health service provider in Victoria, Australia. The methodological and analytical approach is based on an adaptation of the Glaser and Strauss’ grounded theory, using ethnographic and survey techniques to collect and describe data so as to capture a broad interpretation of how governance as a process is interpreted, understood and practiced in this organisation. Most studies of governance focus on economic compliance and performance, and questions concerning less obvious human elements of governance involving decision-making are left largely unaddressed and unresolved. In this thesis, these less tangible elements of governance are explored. The perspective presented here is that corporate governance is a socio-cultural phenomenon that requires not only an examination of the governance structures and processes in place, but also the direct observations of social and cultural elements including individual and organisational decision-making. There is a dearth of corporate governance research in the public sector, which has in the past decade adopted a system of governance more aligned to a private sector model. This thesis starts to address this lack. It combines a study of the Board and its accountabilities in the face of rapid change (analogous to the private sector model) with evidence from stakeholders to assess the impact of the governance in the public sector. From the analysis of the data collected and from the researcher’s observations, the health provider studied here can be described as having an effective Board. It appears to have integrated decision-making, with the Board strategically setting the direction of the service and supporting the actions of management to meet the key performance targets and measures as prescribed by the Department of Human Services (DHS). This research explores how governance as a process is interpreted, understood and practiced in the context of a public sector organisation. It offers a unique insight into the complex concept of corporate governance and offers a constructionist conceptual paradigm for further governance inquiry.

Item type Thesis (PhD thesis)
Subjects Historical > Faculty/School/Research Centre/Department > School of Management and Information Systems
Historical > RFCD Classification > 350000 Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services
Keywords corporate governance, public health sector, Victoria
Download/View statistics View download statistics for this item

Search Google Scholar

Repository staff login