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The Strathprints institutional repository is a digital archive of University of Strathclyde research outputs.

Strathprints serves world leading Open Access research by the University of Strathclyde, including research by the Strathclyde Institute of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences (SIPBS), where research centres such as the Industrial Biotechnology Innovation Centre (IBioIC), the Cancer Research UK Formulation Unit, SeaBioTech and the Centre for Biophotonics are based.

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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.

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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.