Who do we think we are? Analysing the content and form of identity work in the English National Health Service

Who do we think we are? Analysing the content and form of identity work in the English National... Purpose – The language used by National Health Service (NHS) “commissioning” managers when discussing their roles and responsibilities can be seen as a manifestation of “identity work”, defined as a process of identifying. This paper aims to offer a novel approach to analysing “identity work” by triangulation of multiple analytical methods, combining analysis of the content of text with analysis of its form. Design/methodology/approach – Fairclough's discourse analytic methodology is used as a framework. Following Fairclough, the authors use analytical methods associated with Halliday's systemic functional linguistics. Findings – While analysis of the content of interviews provides some information about NHS Commissioners' perceptions of their roles and responsibilities, analysis of the form of discourse that they use provides a more detailed and nuanced view. Overall, the authors found that commissioning managers have a higher level of certainty about what commissioning is not rather than what commissioning is; GP managers have a high level of certainty of their identity as a GP rather than as a manager; and both GP managers and non‐GP managers oscillate between multiple identities depending on the different situations they are in. Originality/value – This paper offers a novel approach to triangulation, based not on the usual comparison of multiple data sources, but rather based on the application of multiple analytical methods to a single source of data. This paper also shows the latent uncertainty about the nature of commissioning enterprise in the English NHS. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Health Organisation and Management Emerald Publishing

Who do we think we are? Analysing the content and form of identity work in the English National Health Service

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © 2013 Emerald Group Publishing Limited. All rights reserved.
ISSN
1477-7266
DOI
10.1108/14777261311311771
pmid
23734474
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Purpose – The language used by National Health Service (NHS) “commissioning” managers when discussing their roles and responsibilities can be seen as a manifestation of “identity work”, defined as a process of identifying. This paper aims to offer a novel approach to analysing “identity work” by triangulation of multiple analytical methods, combining analysis of the content of text with analysis of its form. Design/methodology/approach – Fairclough's discourse analytic methodology is used as a framework. Following Fairclough, the authors use analytical methods associated with Halliday's systemic functional linguistics. Findings – While analysis of the content of interviews provides some information about NHS Commissioners' perceptions of their roles and responsibilities, analysis of the form of discourse that they use provides a more detailed and nuanced view. Overall, the authors found that commissioning managers have a higher level of certainty about what commissioning is not rather than what commissioning is; GP managers have a high level of certainty of their identity as a GP rather than as a manager; and both GP managers and non‐GP managers oscillate between multiple identities depending on the different situations they are in. Originality/value – This paper offers a novel approach to triangulation, based not on the usual comparison of multiple data sources, but rather based on the application of multiple analytical methods to a single source of data. This paper also shows the latent uncertainty about the nature of commissioning enterprise in the English NHS.

Journal

Journal of Health Organisation and ManagementEmerald Publishing

Published: Mar 15, 2013

Keywords: Discourse analysis; English NHS; Healthcare commissioning; Identity work; National Health Service; Primary care; United Kingdom

References

  • Identity regulation as organizational control: producing the appropriate individual
    Alvesson, M.; Willmott, H.
  • Local histories and local sensemaking: a case of policy implementation in the English National Health Service
    Coleman, A.; Checkland, K.; Harrison, S.; Hiroeh, U.
  • Organizational identification: a conceptual and operational review
    Edwards, M.R.
  • Middle managers' uncertainty management during organizational change
    Herzig, S.E.; Jimmieson, N.L.
  • Exhausting management work: conflicting identities
    Mischenko, J.
  • Professional legitimacy claims in the multidisciplinary workplace: the case of heart failure care
    Sanders, T.; Harrison, S.
  • Identity, identity work and the experience of working from home
    Tietze, S.; Musson, G.
  • Adaptive regulation or governmentality: patient safety and the changing regulation of medicine
    Waring, J.

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