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Theorizing the micro-politics of resistance: new public management and managerial identities in the UK public services

Thomas, Robyn and Davies, Annette 2005. Theorizing the micro-politics of resistance: new public management and managerial identities in the UK public services. Organization Studies 26 (5) , pp. 683-706. 10.1177/0170840605051821

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This article presents theoretical and empirical analysis of the micro-politics of resistance. We theorize resistance at the level of meanings and subjectivities, drawing attention to the multidirectional and generative effects in identity construction. We address two shortcomings present in much of the theorizing of resistance, namely, the conceptualizing of resistance as a set of actions and behaviours, and the narrow conception of resistance as a reaction to repressive power. Focusing on the UK public services, we draw from texts generated within interviews with public service professionals in the police, social services and secondary education to explore the meanings individuals ascribe to the discourse of New Public Management (NPM) and their positioning within these meanings. The analysis contributes to the study of organizations in three respects. First, it offers a more detailed and varied understanding of resistance that can account for different motivations and ways in which individuals struggle to transform meanings. Second, drawing on specific cases, it illustrates the process of the micro-politics of resistance. Third, it presents an empirically grounded understanding of the character and conduct of NPM that can accommodate greater complexity and nuance.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Business (Including Economics)
Uncontrolled Keywords: identities resistance New Public Management managers poststructuralism
ISSN: 01708406
Last Modified: 10 Oct 2017 12:48

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