Management Seminars: Marlieke van Grinsven
Marlieke van Grinsven, visiting PhD student/researcher (Free University of Amsterdam)
2E2, Priory Road Complex (8 Woodland Road)
Title: Translating management concepts as identity work (work in progress)
Over the last two decades we have seen a growing academic interest in the ebb and flow of management ideas. Yet, despite a recent centrality of agency and micro processes in translation perspectives it is still common to treat agents as predominantly rational actors that either engage in ‘an implicit search for pragmatic solutions’ or as strategic actors who engage in redefining the meaning of a concept for it to be beneficial to their own interests. There is hardly any theoretical and empirical work on what makes actors develop more or less interest in a specific concept and how this affects the shaping of a concept. To address this inattention, this paper uses empirical data on the implementation of Lean in Dutch Healthcare. In total, 45 interviews were conducted with the implementation managers of hospitals that are member to the LIDZ-network (Lean in Healthcare). Our findings uncover multiple forms of identity work shaping the concept of Lean, ranging from ‘selecting’ to ‘entrepreneuring’ as a function of (a) how these implementation managers relate to the concept of Lean on a personal level and what makes them do so and (b) their perception of their position within the social structure ascribing expectations to their role and the meaning of the concept. Our results explain how both the concept of Lean as the actors involved are translated through identity work, and shows how shifts in translation processes may occur accordingly.