Deskilling emotional labour

Just (issue) published in Work, Employment and Society:

Ikeler, Peter (2016). Deskilling emotional labour: Evidence from department store retail. Work, employment and society, 30(6), 966-983. doi: doi:10.1177/0950017015609031

How have the skills of service jobs changed? Have they undergone deskilling, upgrading or some contingent or compensatory development? This study examines these questions as they pertain to frontline sales work in US department stores. It begins by identifying an operational concept of service skill latent across recent debates and then examines it via qualitative comparison of full-line and discount stores in New York City. Based on an evaluative framework akin to that of Blauner, this study’s workplace-level findings suggest that the industry-level succession of full-line stores by discounters has embodied a decline in the complexity and autonomy of salespersons’ emotional labour.

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