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Performance management discourse and the shift to an administrative logic of operation: a multimodal critical discourse analytical approach
Södertörn University, School of Culture and Education, Swedish Language.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-3176-7226
Örebro universitet.
2016 (English)In: Text & Talk, ISSN 1860-7330, E-ISSN 1860-7349, Vol. 36, no 4, 445-467 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This paper, using multimodal critical discourse analysis, explores a chain of performance management documents in a university which aim to meet the goal of increasing output and excellence. A system of performance management developed by Kaplan and Norton in the 1990s, which enables both tangible and also “intangible assets” such as “quality” and “excellence” to be monitored and measured, is now used fairly universally to structure the running of public institutions. Looking in detail at one case, we show that the result is an abstraction and de-contextualization of processes and agents, through a series of interlocking texts, lists and tables that follows an administrative, rather than task led, logic of operation. We show how the discourse is legitimized on the one hand by the very impenetrable nature of the resulting interlocking documents and by the Web of Science database on the other. We give reasons why the database itself is highly problematic and also show the abstract ways in which it is communicated and how it leads to research in all subject areas being codified and standardized in a “one-size-fits-all” way. This, we argue, serves the purposes of naturalizing and justifying notions of “quality,” “excellence” and “value for money” that have been promoted in service of neoliberal politics.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. Vol. 36, no 4, 445-467 p.
Keyword [en]
multimodality, performance management, marketization, organizational studies, CDA
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URN: urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-30493DOI: 10.1515/text-2016-0020ISI: 000378883600004ScopusID: 2-s2.0-84976911430OAI: diva2:942510
Available from: 2016-06-24 Created: 2016-06-24 Last updated: 2016-07-22Bibliographically approved

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