"Being the best": a critical discourse analysis of a series of BC Public Service strategic human resource plans




Gauvin, Katia

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In 2006, the BC Public Service published the first of a series of corporate human resource plans entitled “Being the Best”. One of the key goals of these plans is to improve employee engagement at the BC Public Service. Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) is used to uncover the ideas and assumptions that underlie the employee engagement construct at the BC Public Service as well as better understand the influence these beliefs have on power relationships within the organization. Because there is a paucity of critical literature specifically focused on employee engagement discourse, the critical discourse analysis considers the broader discourse of human resource management. The analysis reveals that values and assumptions associated with the discourse of New Public Management (NPM) are woven into and across the texts. Three themes emerge from the analysis: transformational change is necessary and there is only one ‘right’ way to solve the crisis; the public servant identity is reshaped around the entrepreneurial spirit; and the organizational culture is redefined to align with NPM values. The effect of this discourse is to maintain and intensify managerial control over front line employees.



CDA, Critical Discourse Analysis, BC Public Service, Strategic Human Resource Management