Homo subjectivus: shoehorning customer-centric reform into the subjectivities of Abu Dhabi's public administrators

Dadze-Arthur, Abena Frimpona (2016). Homo subjectivus: shoehorning customer-centric reform into the subjectivities of Abu Dhabi's public administrators. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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Public administrators are the people who not only administer public services, but who are also expected to carry out reform and to embed 'new ways of doing things' in the machinery and mentality of public sector organisations. Yet, research has shown that, in pursuing change initiatives, due attention is rarely paid to how public administrators feel, think and make meaning. As a direct consequence, public administrative reforms frequently disappoint by failing to generate the promised positive results. Hence, this thesis explores the nebulous phenomenon of subjective meaning-making in the context of Abu Dhabi Government's customercentric reform. This is accomplished in two practical steps: Firstly, the study employs Q Methodology to identify five viewpoints that different groups of public administrators share: (1) The benefactor's epic fail, (2) Managerialism in modern Arabiya, (3) Triumph of the cherished patriarch, (4) The traditional ways of the Bedouins, and (5) The reign of formulas over culture. In the second step, a Cultural Reference Group drills down into each shared viewpoint to reveal group-specific knowledge structures, or collective schemata. The study discovers that content schemata and context schemata interact with situational influencers in producing shared viewpoints, and a socio-cognitive model is proposed to illuminate these processes. The findings contribute to an understanding of the subjective constructions that public administrators share at group-level, and how these impact ou the opportunities for meaningful reform.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Social Sciences
School or Department: Institute of Local Government Studies
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management
J Political Science > JQ Political institutions Asia
URI: http://etheses.bham.ac.uk/id/eprint/6628


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