Journal of Applied Linguistics and Professional Practice, Vol 9, No 1 (2012)

‘I’m a nurse and I have the responsibility’: Human identity and non-human stakeholder agency in healthcare practice

Inger Lassen
Issued Date: 30 Dec 2013

Abstract


This article explores the interplay of human and non human actors in a Danish hospital setting in which corporate and individual stakeholder identities are negotiated, contested or aligned with the common goal of providing good health care. Viewing the hospital as a network of stakeholders, and following Luoma-Aho and Paloviita (2010), I subscribe to the argument that non-human agency has been given too little attention in stakeholder literature. From this point of departure I discuss the complexities of nonhuman agency, bringing together aspects of Latour’s Actor Network Theory (ANT) and Halliday’s Grammatical Metaphor Theory. I subsequently combine ANT and Systemic Functional Linguistics (SFL) Theory (specifically, Grammatical Metaphor Theory, Transitivity analysis, and Mood and Modality) in analyses of selected data in an empirical case study of a hospital in Denmark. In the analyses I focus on the complex nature of non-human agency as construed in printed materials and interviews with nursing staff in one of the hospital wards. I discuss how non-human stakeholders might influence the construal of identity among nursing staff and conclude with reflections on the role played by non-human stakeholders in a healthcare sector increasingly governed by private-sector management instruments.

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DOI: 10.1558/japl.v9i1.105

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