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Elite Discourse and Institutional Innovation: Making the Hybrid Happen in English Public Services

Elites on Trial

ISBN: 978-1-78441-680-5, eISBN: 978-1-78441-679-9

Publication date: 10 February 2015


This paper focuses on the strategic role of elites in managing institutional and organizational change within English public services, framed by the wider ideological and political context of neo-liberalism and its pervasive impact on the social and economic order over recent decades. It also highlights the unintended consequences of this elite-driven programme of institutional reform as realized in the emergence of hybridized regimes of ‘polyarchic governance’ and the innovative discursive and organizational technologies on which they depend. Within the latter, ‘leaderism’ is identified as a hegemonic ‘discursive imaginary’ that has the potential to connect selected marketization and market control elements of new public management (NPM), network governance, and visionary and shared leadership practices that ‘make the hybrid happen’ in public services reform.




The research reported here was supported by the Economic and Social Research Council under grant number RES-000-23-1136. The views expressed are those of the authors and do not represent the views of the ESRC.


Reed, M. and Wallace, M. (2015), "Elite Discourse and Institutional Innovation: Making the Hybrid Happen in English Public Services", Elites on Trial (Research in the Sociology of Organizations, Vol. 43), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 269-302.



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