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Making history critical : recasting a history of the “Management” of the British National Health Service.

Learmonth, M. (2017) 'Making history critical : recasting a history of the “Management” of the British National Health Service.', Journal of health organization and management., 31 (5). pp. 542-555.


Purpose: This article explores a possible discursive history of NHS ‘management’ (with management, for reasons that will become evident, very much in scare quotes). Such a history is offered as a complement, as well as a counterpoint, to the more traditional approaches that have already been taken to the history of the issue. Design/methodology/approach: Document analysis and interviews with UK NHS Trust Chief Executives. Findings: After explicating the assumptions of the method it suggests, through a range of empirical sources that the NHS has undergone an era of administration, an era of management and an era of leadership. Research limitations/implications: The paper enables a recasting of the history of the NHS; in particular, the potential for such a discursive history to highlight the interests supported and denied by different representational practices. Practical implications: Today’s so-called leaders are leaders because of conventional representational practices – not because of some essence about what they really are. Originality/value: The value of thinking in terms of what language does – rather than what it might represent.

Item Type:Article
Full text:(AM) Accepted Manuscript
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Publisher statement:This article is © Emerald Group Publishing and permission has been granted for this version to appear here Emerald does not grant permission for this article to be further copied/distributed or hosted elsewhere without the express permission from Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Date accepted:17 February 2017
Date deposited:23 February 2017
Date of first online publication:21 August 2017
Date first made open access:21 August 2017

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