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Enhancing value in healthcare: towards a trans-disciplinary approach

William Maguire (University of Tasmania, Hobart, Australia)
Lyn Murphy (Department of Public Health, Faculty of Health and Environmental Sciences, Auckland University of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand)

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal

ISSN: 0951-3574

Article publication date: 28 June 2022

Issue publication date: 27 March 2023




The purpose of this paper is to suggest how decision-makers may work towards a broader perspective on value than that expressed in financial economics-based accounting terms to enhance value in healthcare.


The authors review published academic research and reports on practice across a range of disciplines.


The authors find that while value is a multidimensional concept, which is open to perceptions that differ across stakeholders in healthcare, financial economics-based accounting is essentially mono-disciplinary and dominates decisions. Enhancing value in health is a wicked problem, and a trans-disciplinary approach has the potential to enable decision-makers to enhance value.

Practical implications

The suggest that a trans-disciplinary approach, which dissolves disciplinary boundaries, is capable of enabling decision-makers to work towards understanding and enhancing value by fostering awareness of stakeholders' perceptions of value. A critical caveat is that a trans-disciplinary approach does not guarantee ready-made or immediate solutions; it does, however, offer the means to struggle towards a destination which may be continually shifting.


This study highlights the importance of a broader understanding of the concept of value than that implied by financial economics-based accounting and recognises the perceptions of stakeholders. It explores the inter-relationship among “the view from nowhere”, wicked problems and trans-disciplinarity and recommends a trans-disciplinary approach with a view to enhancing value in that broader sense. In this way, it contributes to the accounting literature, which has previously paid little attention to some of these aspects.



The authors thank, for their constructive comments on earlier drafts of this paper: anonymous referees of the journal submissions; Jane Broadbent, Aidan Davison, Vincent Bicudo de Castro, and Dale Tweedie; anonymous conference reviewers, discussants and delegates at accounting, management and health conferences (AFAANZ, ANZAM APIRA, ARA, CESAR, EIPEN, EURAM, IFSAM), and school seminars/symposiums held at the Auckland University of Technology, the University of Auckland and the University of Tasmania. The authors also thank Lee Parker for his helpful guidance.


Maguire, W. and Murphy, L. (2023), "Enhancing value in healthcare: towards a trans-disciplinary approach", Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, Vol. 36 No. 2, pp. 494-519.



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