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Talk as Technique - A Critique of the Words and Deeds Distinction in the Diffusion of Customer Service Cultures in Call Centres

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  • Andrew Sturdy
  • Peter Fleming
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    Abstract

    This paper critically explores the common distinction made between words and deeds (or ideas and techniques) in the diffusion of management knowledge literature. The concern with whether management ideas are "really" being implemented in an organizational context intuitively points to the possibility of a contrast between simply talking about a practice or 'hype' and practical implementation. Drawing on empirical research on the diffusion of customer service culture in two call centres where 'verbal labour' predominates, it is argued that this distinction is important, but overdrawn. Eschewing discursive reductionism, the concepts of 'talk in work' and 'talk about work' are developed to illustrate how talk can be a technique of implementation in its own right. Copyright Blackwell Publishers Ltd 2003.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Wiley Blackwell in its journal Journal of Management Studies.

    Volume (Year): 40 (2003)
    Issue (Month): 4 (06)
    Pages: 753-773

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    Handle: RePEc:bla:jomstd:v:40:y:2003:i:4:p:753-773

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