Saying What You Do and Doing What You Say: The Performative Dynamics of Lean Management Theory

39 Pages Posted: 4 Jan 2014

See all articles by Viviane Sergi

Viviane Sergi

Université du Québec à Montréal - Management and technology department

Maria Lusiani

University of Bologna - Department of Management

Ann Langley

HEC Montreal

Jean-Louis Denis

École Nationale d'Administration Publique (ENAP)

Date Written: December 2013

Abstract

Why are certain theories able to impose themselves and influence organizational practices in a significant way? Rooted at the intersection of inquiries into management fashions and into performativity, we investigate the case of the Québec public health care system, where a managerial theory – that of "lean management" – has recently emerged, gained saliency and become dominant in organizational practice. Adopting a longitudinal and multi-level research approach, we focus more precisely on the conditions that allow performativity to occur and increase, considering how this process unfolds over time. We therefore study the processes and the conditions through which lean management theory imposed itself, both in the global health care system and in two distinct health care organizations and the processes and the conditions through which this theory, while imposing itself, constructs a reality for these organizations, eventually reinforcing the theory itself. By unveiling the action of three performative dynamics in this particular case, our study provides a reflection on the catalysts and inhibitors of performativity, that goes beyond the specific case and that could be relevant to researchers interested by performativity.

Keywords: performativity, lean management, health care, organizational dynamics

JEL Classification: M10

Suggested Citation

Sergi, Viviane and Lusiani, Maria and Langley, Ann and Denis, Jean-Louis, Saying What You Do and Doing What You Say: The Performative Dynamics of Lean Management Theory (December 2013). Department of Management, Università Ca' Foscari Venezia Working Paper No. 35/2013. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2374287

Viviane Sergi (Contact Author)

Université du Québec à Montréal - Management and technology department ( email )

Montréal, Quebec
Canada

Maria Lusiani

University of Bologna - Department of Management ( email )

Via Capo di Lucca 34
Bologna, 40126
Italy

Ann Langley

HEC Montreal ( email )

Jean-Louis Denis

École Nationale d'Administration Publique (ENAP) ( email )

4750 avenue Henri-Julien
Montreal, Quebec H2T 3A5
Canada

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