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Public sector cost management practices in The Netherlands

Frank H.M. Verbeeten (Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University, Rotterdam, The Netherlands)

International Journal of Public Sector Management

ISSN: 0951-3558

Article publication date: 23 August 2011

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this research project is to validate the claim that recent developments in the public sector have increased the demand for and use of cost management information in public sector organizations.

Design/methodology/approach

The approach taken is a survey of financial managers in public sector organizations in The Netherlands.

Findings

The findings indicate that the design and use of cost management systems differs across branches. In addition, the results suggest that information from cost management systems is used to legitimate the organization's activities to external stakeholders rather than to manage public sector organizations. Finally, cost management information is used mostly by financial managers yet hardly used by political managers. The results defy claims that cost management information has become important in managing public sector organizations.

Research limitations/implications

All limitations of survey research apply. The survey is based on a non‐random sample of public sector organizations in The Netherlands; findings may not be transferable to other countries.

Practical implications

Legal and regulatory requirements relating to the use of cost management information may not have their intended effects.

Originality/value

The paper responds to previous calls in literature to use quantitative research methods to generalize findings from previous case studies. Also, the paper empirically tests the use of cost management information in The Netherlands, a country with a Nordic style of public management.

Keywords

Citation

Verbeeten, F.H.M. (2011), "Public sector cost management practices in The Netherlands", International Journal of Public Sector Management, Vol. 24 No. 6, pp. 492-506. https://doi.org/10.1108/09513551111163620

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited