Hospitals are frequently changing managerial practices due to numerous public sector reforms taking place. In general, these reforms include the making and monitoring of contracts that regulate relations between the hospitals and their professional staffs. The aim of this paper is to discuss some main characteristics of the contracts that regulate the perceived relations between physicians as employees and the public hospital as employer. The theoretical framework is based on a contract theory approach. The empirical data is based on survey data from full-time employed physicians in the medical and surgical divisions in one of the largest university hospitals in Norway. This study shows that perceived obligations and psychological contracts indicate high degree of relational contracts between the hospital and the physicians. These socio-cultural elements should be recognized as important mechanisms of coordination and communication when policy makers and hospital managers are designing hospital management control systems.
The hospital sector in Norway has been continuously reorganized since 2002 and the reforms have created organizations that are functionally/vertically controlled, whereas the production lines are coordinated on a process or a lateral basis. The purpose of this paper is to focus on both the perceived functional vertical control and horizontal controls within and between the local hospitals and the regional administrative levels.
A national survey study, complemented with interviews of some key informants and document studies.
The study shows that the functional and vertical lines of management control are perceived to be operating according to the traditional views of management control. The study indicates that the horizontal tasks are not very well implemented, and we did not find interactive and lateral uses of management control systems for managerial purposes.
New control problems arise when services are to be coordinated between autonomous units.
The paper focuses on the control problems found within the horizontal, flat relationship between production units in hospitals; new organizational structures have emerged where lateral relations are important, but traditional control practices follow functional, vertical lines.