Skills and Services

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BUSM4176 Introduction to Management
Topic 8 Skills and services

• Flexible firms
• Knowledge work • Service work • Neo-Taylorism • Emotional labour

School of Management

The revolt against Taylorism
• Social science critique of Taylorism • A new workplace and a new worker?

– A post-industrial, information or knowledge economy?
– A service rather than a knowledge economy? – The changing character of labour: hand, heart or head?

School of Management

Flexible futures
• The decline of Fordism and bureaucracy in the developed economies • Changes in their labour markets • Flexibility as the solution

School of Management

Flexibility (Thompson and
• Functional flexibility

McHugh 2009)

–Workers able to undertake a wider range of tasks including some involving the exercise

of discretion and problem solving on
workplace issues

• Numerical flexibility
–Variations in the hours worked or headcount to accommodate changes in demand.

Accomplished through part-time, temporary
and contract working, and changes in shift and over-time working. School of Management Diagram source: Magnum and Magnum (1986, p. 14)

Knowledge work and portfolio people
• The knowledge economy – Increasing knowledge

intensity – Portfolio workers (Handy 1989)
• But does this mark a trend? • And what of knowledge work?

School of Management

What characterises the service sector?
• Five attributes of service work
(Blyton and Turnbull 2004) – Intangibility – Perishability – Variability – Simultaneous production and consumption – Inseparability

School of Management

Consumerism and the rise of the service sector
• Substantial increase in the number of “customer-facing” jobs • Customer service and its link to competitive advantage – “the emotional style of offering the service is part of the service itself” (Hochschild 1983, p. 5) • New concept of emotion work

School of Management

Emotions and...
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