Advanced

The contradictory role of the sales assistant: superordination and subordination

Sellerberg, Ann Mari LU and Leppänen, Vesa LU (2014) In International Journal of Work Organisation and Emotion 6(4). p.352-368
Abstract
Abstract: The social relationship between sales assistants and customers has often been described as relatively one-sided one in which sales assistants are subordinate to customers. One of the ways in which the subordination of sales assistants is manifested is when customers treat them badly, for instance in the form of verbal and physical abuse. We suggest that these power relations are not one-sided, but consist of both of the normative subordination that has been described in much of the previous research and of organisational superordination over customers. We also suggest that in many instances, difficult customer behaviour is triggered by this inherent contradiction in the role of sales assistants. When sales assistants perform... (More)
Abstract: The social relationship between sales assistants and customers has often been described as relatively one-sided one in which sales assistants are subordinate to customers. One of the ways in which the subordination of sales assistants is manifested is when customers treat them badly, for instance in the form of verbal and physical abuse. We suggest that these power relations are not one-sided, but consist of both of the normative subordination that has been described in much of the previous research and of organisational superordination over customers. We also suggest that in many instances, difficult customer behaviour is triggered by this inherent contradiction in the role of sales assistants. When sales assistants perform superordinate actions, customers can respond by attempting to undermine the sales assistants’ superordination and restore normative subordination. The empirical data consist of observations and interviews with employees of a large supermarket and two filling stations in southern Sweden. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
sales assistant, customer, irritation, interaction, subordination, superordination.
in
International Journal of Work Organisation and Emotion
volume
6
issue
4
pages
352 - 368
publisher
Inderscience
external identifiers
  • scopus:84949122611
ISSN
1740-8938
DOI
10.1504/IJWOE.2014.068040
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
469c1f71-bba7-443e-b6e8-66f1fcb0e65a (old id 5385823)
date added to LUP
2015-05-18 15:21:46
date last changed
2017-01-01 03:05:13
@article{469c1f71-bba7-443e-b6e8-66f1fcb0e65a,
  abstract     = {Abstract: The social relationship between sales assistants and customers has often been described as relatively one-sided one in which sales assistants are subordinate to customers. One of the ways in which the subordination of sales assistants is manifested is when customers treat them badly, for instance in the form of verbal and physical abuse. We suggest that these power relations are not one-sided, but consist of both of the normative subordination that has been described in much of the previous research and of organisational superordination over customers. We also suggest that in many instances, difficult customer behaviour is triggered by this inherent contradiction in the role of sales assistants. When sales assistants perform superordinate actions, customers can respond by attempting to undermine the sales assistants’ superordination and restore normative subordination. The empirical data consist of observations and interviews with employees of a large supermarket and two filling stations in southern Sweden.},
  author       = {Sellerberg, Ann Mari and Leppänen, Vesa},
  issn         = {1740-8938},
  keyword      = {sales assistant,customer,irritation,interaction,subordination,superordination.},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {4},
  pages        = {352--368},
  publisher    = {Inderscience},
  series       = {International Journal of Work Organisation and Emotion},
  title        = {The contradictory role of the sales assistant: superordination and subordination},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1504/IJWOE.2014.068040},
  volume       = {6},
  year         = {2014},
}