Exploring the link between clinical managers involvement in budgeting and performance: Insights from the Italian public health care sector

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Abstract

Background:

The public health care sector has had an increase in initiatives, mostly inspired by New Public Management principles, aimed at assigning financial accountability to clinical managers. However, clinical managers might experience a scarce alignment between professional values and organizational requirements, which is a potentially important phenomena that may result in negative consequences on clinical managers' job performance.

Purposes:

Building on Psychological Ownership Theory and adopting a psychology-based management accounting research approach, we focus on the managerial (nonmedical) role the clinical manager fulfills and explore the budgetary participation–performance link via the indirect effects of job-based psychological ownership, role clarity, and clinical managers' affective commitment toward managerial roles.

Methodology/Approach:

The data were collected by a survey conducted in an Italian hospital. The research hypotheses were tested employing a path model.

Findings:

Our study revealed new insights that shed some light on underexplored processes through which mental states mediate the participation–performance link. Among these latter, the findings demonstrate that (a) budgetary participation has a direct effect on job-based psychological ownership; (b) role clarity mediates participation- and job-based psychological ownership link; (c) role clarity and job-based psychological ownership partially mediate the participation–commitment link; and (d) job-based psychological ownership, role clarity, and commitment fully mediate the participation–performance link.

Practice Implications:

From a managerial viewpoint, an understanding of how clinical managers' feelings of ownership toward managerial roles could be enhanced is imperative in health care because ownership accounts for important attitudinal and organizational consequences. Results suggest that health care organizations that invest in budgetary participation will directly and indirectly affect clinical managers' psychological ownership, and this, along with role clarity, motivates clinical managers' managerial work attitudes and performance.

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