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|Title: ||'Banking on the Customer': customer relations, employment relations and worker identity in the Australian retail banking industry|
|Authors: ||Cutcher, Leanne Rose|
|Keywords: ||customer service;identity;discourse;change resistance;human resource manaagement;industrial relations|
|Issue Date: ||2004|
|Publisher: ||University of Sydney. Business|
|Abstract: ||Previously consigned to the anonymity of 'the product market' by researchers in traditional fields such as labour economics and industrial relations, the customer has recently attracted the attention of scholars from a diverse range of disciplines, including organisational behaviour, work psychology, labour process studies, gender studies, and critical management studies. In large part, this emerging interest in the customer is a result of the increasing dominance of service industries in developed economies and the recognition that service work entails a complex, three-way interaction between customers, management and workers. The literature identifies a range of competing and, at times, contradictory images of the customer. Rather than seeking to reconcile these competing representations, this thesis explores the multi-faceted nature of the customer presence and the implications for managers and workers in the retail banking industry in Australia. The thesis highlights how structural change and shifting discourses of the 'customer' have influenced customer relations, employment relations, and worker identity in three areas of the retail banking industry: traditional retail banks, the credit union movement, and community banks. Drawing on detailed qualitative case study evidence, the thesis highlights the range of customers, both 'real' and 'constructed', that can be found in the case study organisations. The thesis identifies the ways in which customers influence employment relations and how workers can be active in either accommodating or resisting the impact of these 'customers' on workplace practice and worker identity. The central argument of the thesis is that, in addition to customers having a physical presence in and influence on organisational life, management and workers also construct 'discursive customers' as a means of influencing the employment relationship and the meanings attached to service work. The study examines how these competing concepts of the customer and customer service influence both the customer-service provider relationship and service workers' relationships with one another and with management. Despite the increasing recognition that service work entails a three-way relationship between customers, management and workers, our understanding of how workers either welcome or resist the presence of this third actor in the employment relationship has, until recently remained very limited. This thesis makes a significant contribution to our understanding that for workers the customer is ever-present physically, emotionally and discursively.|
|Rights and Permissions: ||Copyright Cutcher, Leanne Rose;http://www.library.usyd.edu.au/copyright.html|
|Appears in Collections:||Sydney Digital Theses (Open Access)|
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