The contradictions in and unintended consequences of, managerial strategy create spaces in which practices and identities emerge at odds with strategies that seek to stabilise and intensify the effort bargain. He argues that in order to fully understand what is occurring in organizations we need to not only focus on strategy, but tactics – what workers do in those spaces. Wray-Bliss and Willmott's(1999) study of call centre operators provides a good example of the way in which tactics of resistance can take place in the spaces created by strategic ambiguities. The employees in their study turned the discursive ambiguities and contradictions in the call centre’s new customer service strategy into a tactic of resistance by drawing on a discourse of customer service as a counter-argument to the pressures of meeting sales targets. Similarly, in their study of a large supermarket chain, uncovered evidence that employees used the language and concepts of the recently instigated 'Service Excellence' program to resist changes in management strategy. In both these cases, the employees’ ideal of customer service offered workers both a source of job satisfaction and a discursive tool with which to resist changes to their service role.
The call centre clerks use of an oppositional 'discourse of customer service' as a result of being 'emotionally involved and feeling the need to resist' and that this moral/political discourse is potentially radically unsettling for organizations. argues that employees' own concept utilisations of 'good customer service' offer them both the possibility of satisfaction from their work and an ethical position from which to resist changes to their role. He argues that front-line service employees often resist the shift from a service to a sales-oriented strategy because of their 'preference for a relationship of empathy and identification, rather than instrumentalism, with customers'. This preference arises in part because the emotional labour involved in service work enables employees engaged in that labour to project of sense of 'who one is, a sense of what one values and wants and a sense of how one is connected to others'. As such, this labour forms part of the ongoing process of identity work. Such identity work takes place in the very active details of the places, spaces and times in which lives are lived. It follows then that organizational change that renders insecure previously secure sites of identity formation and/or threatens to disrupt a sense of self-continuity, will meet with resistance. It is widely recognised that resistance is intertwined with subjectivity. Individuals will resist when 'there is a space between the position of subject offered by a discourse and individual interest'. Resistance to change that aims to threaten a sense of continuity is never only about what is happening now but is also about what has happened before. study of culture change in British Rail, those who looked back to earlier times were seen as nostalgic failures and established workers were seen as the embodiment of that failure. Yet, it was precise because of their collective experience over time and the meaning invested in their work that the railway workers resisted arbitrary change. The moral ownership they showed over work was a result of their collective and sedimented experiences over time.This idea that employee responses and reactions are sedimented over time not only highlights the temporal dimensions of identity, it also alludes to the spatial aspects of identity formation and sustenance. Brown and Humphreys have shown how distinct cohorts of workers in a newly merged organization drew on shared understandings of 'place' to inform, defend, contest and promote preferred versions of themselves and their organization. They found that individuals drew on understandings of different buildings to engage in nostalgic reminiscences and bittersweet memories of the pre-merged college, while others drew on 'place' as a discursive resource with which to fantasize about their preferred futures for the college. Their research shows that place,like time, saturates social life. Others have shown that space, like time, is multi-faceted and multi-dimensional. For example, how place incorporates three aspects: place as 'Location'; place as 'locale'; and place as a 'locus of identity'. They define this third aspect of place 'as a focus for personal and collective loyalty, affect and commitment' . This third aspect of 'place' as 'a locus of identity' is somewhat narrow and needs to be broadened to incorporate the many ways that an individual’s identity is spatially made up through a sense of place. For example, spatial narratives invariably draw on past experiences, contemporary life styles and preferred futures. The studies outlined above have shown how employees draw on temporal resources to resist change that threatens a sense of self-continuity. More recently, there has been a focus on the ways that employees construct spatial narratives of resistance. However, all these studies focus on the way in which workers draw on organizationally based spatio-temporal narratives to resist work place change. Fleming and Spicer suggest further research is required to understand not only time and identity boundaries, but also spatial dimensions of work and non-work places. Feminist studies have long recognised the need to focus attention on more situated and contingent forms of resistance and shown that women often engage in tactics of resistance that are rooted in everyday life. These everyday forms of resistance are likely to be small-scale, covert and subtle and centre on 'destabilizing truths, challenging objectivities and normalising discourse'. This paper makes a contribution to our understanding of such tactics of resistance by highlighting the way in which one group of employees drew on spatio-temporal narratives from both inside and outside the workplace to resist organizational change and to reinforce both workplace and gender-based identities.
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