Formal planning rationality in public sector professional work: between discourse and practice

Lusiani, Maria (2011) Formal planning rationality in public sector professional work: between discourse and practice, [Dissertation thesis], Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna. Dottorato di ricerca in Direzione aziendale, 23 Ciclo.
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Although rational models of formal planning have been seriously criticized by strategy literature, they not only remain a widely used organizational practice in private firms, but they have increasingly been entering public, professional organizations too, as part of public sector managerial reforms. This research addresses this apparent paradox, exploring the meaning of formal planning in public sector professional work. Curiously, this is an issue that remains under-investigated in the literature: the long debate on formal planning in strategy research devoted scant attention to its diffusion in the public sector, and public sector studies have scrutinized the introduction of other management tools in professional work, but very limitedly formal planning itself. In fact, little is known on the actual meaning of formal planning in public, professional services. This research is based upon a case of adoption of formal planning tools in a public hospital. Embracing a discourse analytical lens, it examines which formal planning discourse entered professional work, to what extent, and how professionals interpret it and engage with it in their practice. The analysis uncovers dynamics of social construction of meaning where, eventually, a formal planning discourse both shapes and is shaped by professional practice. In particular, it is found that formal planning rationality largely penetrated professional work, but not to the detriment of professional values. Morevover, formal planning ‘fails’ as a tool for rational decision making, but it takes up a knowledge work and a social value in professional work, as a tool for explicitation of action courses and for dialogue between otherwise more disconnected parts of the organization.

Tipologia del documento
Tesi di dottorato
Lusiani, Maria
Dottorato di ricerca
Scuola di dottorato
Scienze economiche e statistiche
Settore disciplinare
Settore concorsuale
Data di discussione
27 Maggio 2011

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