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Performing What? Exploring and Expanding the Notion of Synecdoche in Performance Management Practice

Author: JOSEPH DREW, JANINE O’FLYNN, and BLIGH GRANT
Published in PAQ, Vol. 42 No. 3

The corpus of scholarly literature on performance management largely neglects its role as a rhetorical device. Yet the performance narrative is truly an art of persuasion: it employs master tropes in order to discover warrantable beliefs. However, aside from a unidimensional account of synecdoche, where it is referred to simply as taking a part-for-the-whole, the rhetorical nature of performance management largely seems to have escaped notice in the public administration literature. Our focus is to provide a more fulsome account of synecdoche that can lead to a different perspective on what scholars and performance management architects have generally considered as perverse behavior and deceitful gaming. To provide our discussion with context we examine the persuasive intent and effect of the ‘Fit for the Future’ program, which sought to promote municipal amalgamations in New South Wales, Australia.
key words: performance management, synecdoche, rhetoric.

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