Performing and Experiencing Competing Categories: A Study of Medical Acupuncture

  • Author / Creator
    Crumley, Ellen T.
  • This qualitative case study develops our understanding about the micro-processes of change. Categories are socio-cognitive constructs that group similar things and concepts. We use and interpret categories to understand identity and the relationships between items and concepts. Categories help us understand both change and stability in fields. Change occurs when categories die out, are constructed, re-worked or interpreted in different ways. This research suggests that categories are experienced and performed in everyday work and passed on to others through our interactions. The analysis also highlights that we can gain new insights by examining bottom-up change at the micro-level. Through examining western medical acupuncture (WMA) and Traditional Chinese Medicine medical acupuncture (TCM-MA) in western health care, this dissertation sheds light on how professionals sustain competing categories by performing and experiencing them in different ways. The mixed-methods analysis of interviews, journal articles and textbooks revealed seven micro-processes that best explain the sustaining of competing categories: 1. Describing medical acupuncture with different meaning systems, 2. Learning and teaching different approaches, 3. Conducting research in different ways, 4. Altering work processes, rationale and content, 5. Deepening relationships with clients, 6. Viewing their professional identity (dis)similarly and 7. (Re)Drawing the boundary between personal and professional identity. Together, these micro-processes highlight the different ways that different groups of professionals perform and experience competing categories by: (re)assembling meaning systems, performing techniques and practices and (re)conceptualizing identity. It is implicit in the categories literature that the existence of competing categories is a temporary state and that one category will become dominant. In contrast to the literature, my dissertation research found that competing categories are sustained by different groups who perform and experience their category in different ways. This research contributes to the growing literature about categories and the micro-processes of change.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Business Administration
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
  • Department
  • Specialization
    • Strategic Management and Organization
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Washington, Marvin (Strategic Management and Organization)
    • Spiers, Judith (Jude) (Faculty of Nursing)
    • Lawrence, Tom (Management and Organizational Studies)
    • Cooper, David (Accounting, Operations and Information Systems)