Corporate governance in the NHS

  • James J.H. Harrison

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


Corporate Governance - which is concerned with the management and direction of organizations at the very highest level - has grown in importance in the private sector, from where the concept largely derives, as a result mainly of malpractice. As a consequence, interest in the topic has grown steadily, largely on the part of Governments, regulators and academics. Managerial reforms of the NHS introduced refashioned District Health Authorities (DHAs) which mimic the role and structure of the Company board. The research reported in this thesis is an assessment of corporate governance in post reform English DHAs. The research examines the characteristics of directors, the extent to which corporate governance can be empirically demonstrated, the extent to which it is consistent with the Working for Patients reforms, and, the consequences of such changes for the development of directors and of DHAs. The research also considers the relevance of the findings to other parts of the NHS and public sector. The work draws upon the conceptual framework established by Tricker (1984; also Hilmer & Tricker 1991) with detailed survey and case study findings concerned with issues of direction, executive management, supervision and accountability. The findings from this new research make an important contribution to the policy debate and to the literature(s) concerned.
Date of Award1996
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorMichael J Tricker (Supervisor)


  • corporate governance
  • NHS
  • boardroom practice
  • English district health authorities

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