Beyond scripts and rules: Emotion, fantasy and care in contemporary service work

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The rise of contemporary consumerism has forced a radical revaluation of a wide range of organizational phenomena. In the field of organizational studies there has been a broad recognition of the emergence of a triangle (Leidner 1991) involving the worker, the manager and the customer, whose endlessly mutating dynamics form the basis of a wide range of organizational processes. Politics, identity, structure, culture and so forth can no longer be viewed from a perspective of the old-fashioned tug-of-war between workers and bosses. Instead they must be viewed through a ‘lens’ that acknowledges the triadic nature of contemporary work and organization. Triads, as Simmel (1950) recognized, are more unstable than dyads, involving shifting alliances and conflicts in which the third party can be the stakes or the beneficiary. The entry of the consumer as an important figure into the world of organizations has therefore radically reshaped the nature of contemporary work, the more so as different parties of the triad are frequently found to swap masks and adopt each other’s positions. Just like the worker, the manager is an employee of the organization. The manager becomes a worker in her dealings with her superiors and she becomes a customer in her relations with different departments within the same organization.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEmotionalizing Organizations and Organizing Emotions
EditorsBarbara Sieben, Asa Wettergren
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages21
ISBN (Electronic)978-0-230-28989-5
ISBN (Print)978-1-349-32107-0
Publication statusPublished - 17 Sept 2010


  • Emotional Intelligence
  • Service Work
  • Emotional Labour
  • Flight Attendant
  • Care Theorist

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance(all)
  • General Business,Management and Accounting
  • General Psychology


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