Public administration in transition
Studying understandings and legitimations amongst middle managers within a government agency
This article focuses on how common-sense knowledge is enacted by middle managers in order to make sense of contemporary public administration. Specifically, the article demonstrates how managerialization and market logics is embedded in actors’ perceptions of public administration and becomes manifested through understandings and legitimations. The article presents an analysis of conversational data from middle management positions within a Swedish government agency. The analysis demonstrates how actors categorize a traditional hierarchy together with contemporary ideas of consumerism. It is also demonstrated how actors draw on legitimations of authority and mythopoesis in order to make sense of and to understand their managerial role within the agency. As such, the article contributes to contemporary public administration literature and its discussion regarding the effects of embedding marketization logics on actor and organizational levels as well as to ethnomethodologically informed literature within the social science and humanities.
Keywords: marketization, public administration, Membership Categorization Analysis, sense making, legitimation, mythopoesis
Published online: 04 February 2019
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