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The Harms of WorkAn Ultra-Realist Account of the Service Economy$
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Anthony Lloyd

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781529204018

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781529204018.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM POLICY PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.policypress.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Policy Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in PPSO for personal use.date: 05 April 2020

Profitability, efficiency and targets

Profitability, efficiency and targets

(p.55) Three Profitability, efficiency and targets
The Harms of Work

Anthony Lloyd

Policy Press

This chapter introduces primary data to illustrate the shift from security to flexibility detailed in chapter 2 and its specific impact upon management practice and culture within the service economy. The theme of the chapter is the quest for profitability and efficiency, embodied in the imposition of performance indicators and targets. The chapter does not offer an exhaustive account of all management practice in the service economy but instead focuses on some techniques which will return in the later discussion of harm. The work process is speeded up and controlled by managers and technology, often at the expense of employee well-being; the use of team briefings that focus on targets and under-performance is criticised by employees; the imposition of targets becomes the primary motivation for employees who seek to maximise their output through a variety of techniques including collusion with non-incentivised staff and coaching customers to provide good feedback. The use of targets also ensures a zero-sum game where many employees are forced to compete for bonuses, an approach which divides the workforce. The evidence here demonstrates the primary motivation behind employer and manager practice; to maximise profitability at all costs.

Keywords:   Profitability, management practice, organisational culture, efficiency, targets, customer service

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