On the Front Line
Organization of Work in the Information Economy
The importance of customer service is widely emphasized in business today. This book offers the first comprehensive analysis of the organization and dynamics of front-line work. The volume is based on a four-year study of over a thousand employees and eight leading companies in the United States, Australia, and Japan. On the Front Line reveals similarities and differences found in work environments—such as variance in authority relations and division of labor—as well as significant contrasts between management approaches used in Japan and those used in the United States and Australia. By examining how work differs among service, sales, and knowledge-based settings, it also shows how bureaucratic, entrepreneurial, and network forms of organization coexist in the informational economy. This seminal analysis of work in the service sector offers both a benchmark for consultants working with customer-contact organizations and valuable information for anyone concerned with the changing nature of work.