Picture of two heads

Open Access research that challenges the mind...

The Strathprints institutional repository is a digital archive of University of Strathclyde research outputs. Strathprints provides access to thousands of Open Access research papers by University of Strathclyde researchers, including those from the School of Psychological Sciences & Health - but also papers by researchers based within the Faculties of Science, Engineering, Humanities & Social Sciences, and from the Strathclyde Business School.

Discover more...

The contestation of archetypes: negotiating scripts in a UK hospital trust board

Mueller, F. and Harvey, C. and Howorth, C. (2003) The contestation of archetypes: negotiating scripts in a UK hospital trust board. Journal of Management Studies, 40 (8). pp. 1971-1995. ISSN 0022-2380

Full text not available in this repository. (Request a copy from the Strathclyde author)


This paper deals with the aftermath of the creation of a new governance structure in the UK National Health Service. We conceptualize this new governance structure as a 'Trust Hospital Archetype' in order to establish the promises and limitations of an archetype transition framework. We find that the 'reality' of the 'Trust Hospital Archetype' is one involving a high degree of contestation. This is confirmed by evidence drawn from interviews, documents, observation and participant observation. In order to analyse contestation, we distinguish between three interpretive schemes - Ideological-New Public Management, Executive Pragmatism and Medical Professionalism; and we outline five scripts - challenging, critiquing, mediating, cautioning and defending. This diversity casts doubt on the usefulness of simplistic managerialism-professionalism dichotomies prevalent in much of the literature. It also suggests modifications to archetype transition theory, which lends too much weight to the role of dominant interpretive schemes.