'It Was the Night of the Long Knives': When Public Management Collides with Group Identities

Helene Ratner

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


This article explores through ethnography how public servant identities are affected by organizational change. Using an organizational becoming perspective, it studies the introduction of Lean in a recently merged public logistics department. Lean divides the department into two groups and conflict arises. Later, another institutional change is introduced. Here, the employee attitudes towards Lean change, now unifying rather than dividing the department. Rather than a professional-managerial split, the article concludes that the interplay between public sector change and employee identity is shaped by the apprehension of uncertainty and related group conflicts.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPublic Management Review
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)23-40
Number of pages18
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • Emplyee Conflicts
  • Identity
  • Lean production
  • Organizational Becoming
  • Organizational Change

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