The ‘lean people’ in hospital change: Identity work as social differentiation

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Together with M&O colleague Irene Skovgaard Smith, Maura Soekijad finished an ethnographic study on identity work in relation to change in a hospital setting. It can be found as VU Research Memorandum at:

Abstract: While existing studies already argue that identities are socially constructed, this paper shows that groups of actors situationally construct different identities visàvis each other by way of differentiation. Based on an ethnographic study of a change project aimed at implementing Lean Production principles in a day surgery unit in a public hospital, we explore how different hospital actors interpreted, navigated and responded to the change project and in so doing collectively identify themselves and others through differentiation, depending on the situation. The paper contributes to a relational and situational understanding of identity construction in institutionalized contexts, by exploring a number of dynamic repertoires of differentiation used by different (sub)groups of people in different situations throughout a change process.