PhD defense: Karl Sæbjørn Kjøllesdal

PhD Defense

6 June 2014 22:28

(updated: 7 March 2016 22:29)

PhD defense: Karl Sæbjørn Kjøllesdal

On Tuesday 17 June 2014 Karl Sæbjørn Kjøllesdal will hold a trial lecture on a prescribed topic and defend his thesis for the PhD degree at NHH.

Prescribed topic for the trial lecture:

The development of the financing system of the Norwegian hospital sector in perspectives of theory and international trends.

Time of the trial lecture:

10:15 in Kristian Gerhard Jebsen Centre, NHH

Title of the thesis:

Design and use of costing systems in university hospitals: Empirical investigations.

Time and place for the defense:

12:15 in Kristian Gerhard Jebsen Centre, NHH

Reforms, where new cost information has been central, have in the last decades been introduced to the public sector.

Accounting researchers have pointed at the repeated contrasts between the claimed logical necessity to implement such reforms and the complex mess of unintended consequences so often generated.

Cost information has a central position in any organization. Healthcare is an important sector in a society. This motivates investigating the design and use of costing systems in hospitals.

This thesis illustrates that national prices do not reflect the local service costs of a university hospital.

The use of national average costs as prices in order to finance complex hospitals, and in particular to allocate resources to units within such hospitals, may thus introduce new dilemmas in the control of the hospital or operative unit.

This made us ask: what is the actual design and use of cost accounting systems in major Nordic hospitals.

We observed that the configuration of cost accounting models in the investigated hospitals varies. Three of four hospitals had costing systems estimating the cost per service. In two of these hospitals the focus in the internal control had been shifted from the use of resources (expense centre) to cost efficiency (standard cost centre).

These two hospitals had also been operating with small surpluses for years. The cause and effect relationship for this is unclear at best. The relationship between a hospital's mix of cost accounting models and the financial results, for example, income should thus be further investigated.

On a more speculative basis we also observed that national financing systems may influence the local design and use of costing systems in hospitals. The relationship between these national allocation models and the hospitals "package" of costing systems should be closer investigated.

Supervising committee:

Professor Olov Olson, School of Business, Economics and Law at University of Gothenburg, principal supervisor
Professor Trond Bjørnenak, NHH
Professor Inger Johanne Pettersen, Trondheim Business School

Members of the evaluation committee:

Chair: Professor Kenneth Fjell, NHH
Professor Frode Mellemvik, Bodø Graduate School of Business, University of Nordland
Assistent Professor Kari Nyland, Trondheim Business School, Sør-Trøndelag University College

The trial lecture and thesis defence will be open to the public. Copies of the thesis will be available from: