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`Keeping things moving': space and the construction of middle management identity in a post-NPM organization


Ainsworth, S and Grant, D and Iedema, R, `Keeping things moving': space and the construction of middle management identity in a post-NPM organization, Discourse & Communication, 3, (1) pp. 5-25. ISSN 1750-4821 (2009) [Refereed Article]

DOI: doi:10.1177/1750481308098762


Reforms associated with New Public Management (NPM) have led to changes in the management of work and organization that challenge the stability, durability and linearity of the managerial hierarchy in contemporary public sector workplaces. Against this background, this article considers the ways in which two clinician-managers who work in a large metropolitan teaching hospital speak about their organizational roles. Reflecting the complexity of their part of the organization, the emergency department, the interviewees position themselves as operating at the interstice between the competing and contradictory spatial logics of locality and mobility. With their identities strongly anchored in emergency as locality, the clinician-managers intervene in the flows of meanings and resources that affect its processes in ways that require intra- and inter-organizational mobility and which are incommensurate with traditional perceptions of middle managers. In regarding the interviews as `practical authoring' (Shotter and Cunliffe, 2003), we note our own spatial ambiguity as academic researchers interested in organizations other than our own and suggest that our insider-outsider positionings are reflected in the interviews' complex spatialities. We conclude that the interviewees' boundary-spanning and cross-spatial self-positionings are indicative of the hybrid roles that workers under NPM increasingly embody and are in contrast to traditional perceptions of how the provision and management of public service work is carried out.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:identity; middle management; New Public Management; space
Research Division:Language, Communication and Culture
Research Group:Other language, communication and culture
Research Field:Other language, communication and culture not elsewhere classified
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in language, communication and culture
UTAS Author:Iedema, R (Professor Rick Iedema)
ID Code:94306
Year Published:2009
Web of Science® Times Cited:17
Deposited By:Health Sciences B
Deposited On:2014-09-05
Last Modified:2014-09-05

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