Organizing Care during the COVID-19 Pandemic: The Role of Accounting in German Hospitals

Christian Huber*, Nadine Gerhardt, Jacob Reilley

*Corresponding author af dette arbejde

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftartikelForskningpeer review


Purpose: The purpose of this study is to provide insight into the roles of accounting in the management of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in five German hospitals.
Design/methodology/approach: The authors conducted three rounds of interviews, ethnographic observations of meetings and document analyses in five German hospitals between February and August 2020.
Findings: The authors found that actors repeatedly used a central set of indicators (the number of beds for COVID-19 patients) when adapting a healthcare infrastructure to the pandemic. Accounting figures allowed actors to problematize prior configurations, organize processes to make uncertainty plannable and virtualize changes to resume treating non-COVID-19 patients.
Practical implications: The authors offer suggestions about scenario planning and interorganizational learning which have implications for healthcare practitioners.
Originality/value: The authors contribute to the accounting in crisis literature by adding an organization-focused study. Adding nuance to key themes in the literature, they show how the organizations and the field level interact and how organizing locally preceded economizing. They also offer a nonbinary answer to the question of whether or not changes revert back to “normal” after a crisis event.
TidsskriftAccounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal
Udgave nummer6
Sider (fra-til)1445-1456
Antal sider12
StatusUdgivet - 2021

Bibliografisk note

Published online: 30 March 2021.


  • COVID-19
  • Hospitals
  • Accounting in crises
  • Healthcare
  • Nonfinancial indicators