Managerial control and the limits to employee participation in retail work spaces: evidence from a UK IKEA store

Bilsland, K. and Cumbers, A. (2018) Managerial control and the limits to employee participation in retail work spaces: evidence from a UK IKEA store. New Technology, Work and Employment, 33(2), pp. 130-148. (doi:10.1111/ntwe.12110)

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Abstract

This article contributes to labour process debates around managerial control and worker autonomy in the retail workplace. Through critical analysis of managerial strategies in the production of organisational space within an IKEA store, it explores how spatial design and practice shape managerial control and employee participation. Rather than the rhetoric of employee participation espoused by IKEA, our findings emphasise how managers use space to foster employee commitment to corporate objectives. While employees do exercise their own agency and spatial practice, their actions are moulded and constrained by dominant organisational structures and managerial strategies. As such, the article augments existing labour process research by developing new insights about how the spatial dimension shapes managerial control in retail workplaces. Although workers are far from the passive recipients of management decisions apparent in much labour process theory, their participation largely serves the strategic visions and spatial plans of their employer.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Bilsland, Miss Karen and Cumbers, Professor Andrew
Authors: Bilsland, K., and Cumbers, A.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > Adam Smith Business School > Management
Journal Name:New Technology, Work and Employment
Publisher:Wiley
ISSN:0268-1072
ISSN (Online):1468-005X
Published Online:19 June 2018

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