A case study of the balanced scorecard in public hospitals

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Vesty, Gillian M (2004) A case study of the balanced scorecard in public hospitals. Research Master thesis, Victoria University of Technology.


The Balanced Scorecard (BSC) is an innovative management accounting tool, designed by Kaplan and Norton in 1992, now used in both public and private sectors. The BSC takes a multi-dimensional approach to performance management providing a link between organisational strategy and operational performance. Australian public sector reforms have lead to corporatisation of many government-owned entities, which now have the autonomy to decide their own strategic objectives. This last decade of change has required the implementation of new performance management systems to cope with tightening funding arrangements and increasing costs. The BSC has been considered the appropriate tool to provide both financial and non-financial information for the diverse set of public sector stakeholders. This study will examine the issues of BSC implementation in two public hospitals. The purpose of this study is to contribute to the knowledge of the BSC and the changing public sector management accounting function. The influence management accounting has in multidimensional performance measurement system adoption is investigated. The study was conducted using the case study method. The main form of data collection was via semistructured interviews, a non-participant observer role and archival data. Despite a proliferation of non-financial performance measures in both hospitals, performance measurement centred on external funding requirements. Management accounting in hospitals has predominately been focused on output control, through budgeting and financial target monitoring. More recently there has been a move to integrate the management accounting role as clinical support agent and business analyst. Despite these moves, traditional performance measurement and management control is still dominated by the financial and financially related activity measures for public hospital funding. The BSC adoption at one hospital lapsed, whilst at the other hospital, after two years, the BSC was incomplete. These results have implications for hospital management, further research and management accounting education.

Additional Information

Master of Business

Item type Thesis (Research Master thesis)
URI https://vuir.vu.edu.au/id/eprint/17897
Subjects Historical > FOR Classification > 1501 Accounting, Auditing and Accountability
Historical > FOR Classification > 1503 Business and Management
Historical > Faculty/School/Research Centre/Department > Faculty of Business and Law
Keywords performance management tools, public hospitals, organizational effectiveness, evaluation, industrial productivity
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