WES COB final 2006.pdf (179.46 kB)
Download file

Customer oriented militants? A critique of the 'customer oriented bureaucracy' theory on front-line service worker collectivism

Download (179.46 kB)
journal contribution
posted on 27.01.2012, 09:30 by Paul A. Brook
This critique challenges the Customer Oriented Bureaucracy (COB) theory’s argument that the experience of customer service is pivotal to the formation of front-line service worker collectivism. COB’s rejection of the major tenets of Marxist analysis, thereby denying the exploitative and class nature of service work, results in Korczynski theorising front-line worker collectivism as based only on the shared experience of doing customer service rather than as workers per se. As a neo-Weberian theory, COB argues ‘consumer capitalism’s’ ideology of ‘customer sovereignty’ is a contemporary ideological ‘iron cage’ of value rationalisation in a unified, contradictory relationship with bureaucratic rationalisation. COB theory, consequently, allows only for a trade unionism that is limited to contesting the terms of customer service rather than challenging the deepening commodification of social relations.

History

Citation

Work, employment and society, 2007, 21 (2), pp. 363-374.

Author affiliation

/Organisation/COLLEGE OF SOCIAL SCIENCE/School of Management

Version

AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Published in

Work

Publisher

Sage

issn

0950-0170

eissn

1469-8722

Copyright date

2007

Available date

27/01/2012

Publisher version

http://wes.sagepub.com/

Language

en