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Doing things with words : the case of 'management' and 'administration'.

Learmonth, M. (2005) 'Doing things with words : the case of 'management' and 'administration'.', Public administration., 83 (3). pp. 617-637.


Over the last two decades, management, rather than administration, has become the dominant category through which both academics and practitioners talk, write and argue the organization of public services. More recently, the discourses of leadership have also been increasingly deployed in this context. Based on interviews with UK National Health Service trust chief executives, the article examines these particular discursive changes, exploring what the distinctions do rather than what the categories might represent. It reminds us of some of the things we do (in reality and to reality) when we deploy such words, especially in the debate about control. It also suggests possibilities for disturbing the dominance of the terms that are generally axiomatic in constructing arguments about the public sector; a dominance that has come to favour the interests of some as it denies the interests of others.

Item Type:Article
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Date of first online publication:August 2005
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