Picture of two heads

Open Access research that challenges the mind...

The Strathprints institutional repository is a digital archive of University of Strathclyde research outputs. Strathprints provides access to thousands of Open Access research papers by University of Strathclyde researchers, including those from the School of Psychological Sciences & Health - but also papers by researchers based within the Faculties of Science, Engineering, Humanities & Social Sciences, and from the Strathclyde Business School.

Discover more...

Bermuda revisited? Management power and powerlessness in the worker-manager-customer triangle

Bolton, Sharon C. and Houlihan, Maeve (2010) Bermuda revisited? Management power and powerlessness in the worker-manager-customer triangle. Work and Occupations, 37 (3). pp. 378-403.

Full text not available in this repository. (Request a copy from the Strathclyde author)

Abstract

This article charts changing power relations within customer services, focusing on frontline service sector managers (FLSSMs): what they do and how they do it. Although increasingly ghostlike in the sociology of customer service work, the FLSSM is a mediator of the of the divergent interests of employees, senior management, and customers. Drawing on Kanter's notion of power failure in management circuits, the article depicts a series of "triangle dramas" drawn from a variety of frontline settings that show how managers can be denied access to "lines of power". The analysis questions the expectation that FLSSMs have sufficent power to resolve customer dissatisfactions or address structural failings.