This paper illustrates a number of ways in which competency or capability-based management development (CBMD) can work simultaneously both for and against the interests of organizational agents. It does so by demonstrating how CBMD might usefully be understood as both ideological and quasi-religiously faith-based. These features are shown to provide opportunities for resistance and micro-emancipation alongside those for repression and subordination. The study employs a combination of ‘middle range’ discourse analytical techniques. In the first instance, critical discourse analysis is applied to company documentation to distil the ideological stance of an international organization’s CBMD programme. Critical discursive psychology is then used to assess the ways in which employees’ evaluative accounts both support and resist such stance. The analysis builds upon previous insights from Foucauldian studies of CBMD by foregrounding processes of discursive agency. It also renders more visible and discussible the assumptions and dilemmas that CBMD might imply
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