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The National Health Service manager : engineer and father? a deconstruction.

Learmonth, M. (1999) 'The National Health Service manager : engineer and father? a deconstruction.', Journal of management studies., 36 (7). pp. 999-1012.


This paper presents the findings of deconstructing a short extract from a report written by a National Health Service Trust chief executive. Changes in National Health Service management since the early 1980s are briefly discussed. This is followed by a theoretical discussion of deconstruction and metaphorization. The text is analysed focusing on the ‘binary opposites’ reason and emotion. It is argued that reason is given hierarchical pre-eminence and that emotion is hidden or marginalized but that both concepts are central in order to arrive at an understanding of the text. The chief executive appears to constitute his role in ways which might be characterized as engineering (reason) and as traditional fatherhood (emotion). Metaphors in the text are used in order to provide evidence to support these characterizations. One implication which is particularly highlighted is that management in this text is seen as a distinctively masculine practice – perhaps surprisingly within what is presumed to be the caring and supportive environment of a health care organization. The paper ends with some reflexive reflections on the analysis.

Item Type:Article
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Date of first online publication:December 1999
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