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Framing WorkUnitary, Pluralist and Critical Perspectives in the 21st Century$
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Edmund Heery

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780199569465

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199569465.001.0001

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Debating the Customer

Debating the Customer

Chapter:
(p.138) 6 Debating the Customer
Source:
Framing Work
Author(s):

Edmund Heery

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199569465.003.0006

This chapter considers how unitary, pluralist, and critical traditions have responded to the emergence of the customer as a category within social analysis. The primary focus of all three traditions in the past has been on the worker–employer dyad but increasingly they have had to consider the trilateral relationship between workers, customers, and employers. The chapter examines unitary, pluralist, and critical conceptions of the trilateral relationship and the prescriptions each tradition makes for accommodating the customer. The chapter also focuses on a central issue, the marketization of public services, and reviews hard unitary, pluralist, and CLS writing on this topic. It is noted that unitarists favour marketization and believe that incentives can align worker and consumer interests; pluralists believe that public service quasi-markets must be appropriately regulated in order to balance interests; and that critical writers are opposed to marketization, advocating worker–consumer coalitions as a means of resistance.

Keywords:   customer/consumer, trilateral relationship, end-user organization, marketization, services, direct payments, personalization of care, worker–consumer coalition

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