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

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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 et al (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 non-human agency, bringing together aspects of Latour’s actor network theory (2005) and Halliday’s grammatical metaphor theory (1994; 2004). I subsequently combine actor network theory and SFL theory, more specifically grammatical metaphor theory, transitivity analysis, 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 health care sector increasingly governed by private-sector management instruments.
grammatical metaphor, transitivity, agency, non-human actor, professional practice
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Applied Linguistics and Professional Practice
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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