Product costing, managerialism and organisational learning

Some insights from a case study from the Tasmanian health sector

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

1 Citation (Scopus)


Much that is written on product costing is prescriptive. Such literature suggests normative ways to accomplish the tasks of identifying, classifying, determining and using product costs. Some critics might argue that this is managerialist, top-down thinking which should be rejected. Others might suggest that normative, prescriptive approaches ignore complex social factors such as the exercise of power and influence, or that the outputs of health, welfare and education are not products at all and are not therefore amenable to a product costing process. We explore some aspects of this debate through the analysis of a case study of the Tasmanian health sector in which a product costing process was conducted in three hospitals. We conclude that a number of benefits to identified stakeholders - in this case bureaucrats, hospital managers and clinical staff - can emerge from a product costing process. We briefly locate the discussion in the context of some characteristics of organisational learning.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)36-45
Number of pages10
JournalAustralian Journal of Public Administration
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1998

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