This study addresses the debate regarding employee discretion and neo-normative forms of control within interactive service work. Discretion is central to core and long-standing debates within the sociology of work and organizations such as skill, control and job quality. Yet, despite this, the concept of discretion remains underdeveloped. We contend that changes in the nature of work, specifically in the context of interactive service work, require us to revisit classical theorizations of discretion. The paper elaborates the concept of value discretion; defined as the scope for employees to interpret the meaning of the espoused values of their organization. We illustrate how value discretion provides a foundational basis for further forms of task discretion within a customized service call-centre. The study explores the link between neo-normative forms of control and the labour process by elaborating the concept of value discretion to provide new insights into the relationship between managerial control and employee agency within contemporary service labour processes.
We thank Steven Vallas and the three reviewers for their insightful and constructive comments on the paper. We would like to thank Ashley Roberts for his help with the data collection.
Jenkins, S. and Delbridge, R. (2017), "Neo-Normative Control and Value Discretion in Interactive Service Work: A Case Study", Emerging Conceptions of Work, Management and the Labor Market (Research in the Sociology of Work, Vol. 30), Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 59-85. https://doi.org/10.1108/S0277-283320170000030004
Emerald Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2017 Emerald Publishing Limited