Cantilevering the Malaise: Confusopoly in the 21st Century Employment Relationship

In: Journal of Labor and Society
Guillaume DesjardinsDepartment of Industrial Relations, Université du Québec en Outaouais, 283 boulevard Alexandre-Taché, Local C-3821, Gatineau, QC, CanadaJ8X 3X7,

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Critiques of the way workforces were managed in capitalist market economies throughout the 20th century exist but are not necessarily relevant to emergent industries. In the digital age, new economic sectors have proliferated. These are often associated with distinctive labor management practices. A case in point is the telecommunications retail sector—shopping mall outlets where salespeople sell smartphones and associated contracts. In such outlets, it is difficult for consumers to accurately assess their needs and make informed choices, a phenomenon sometime described as confusopoly. This study provides evidence that confusopoly not only characterizes the relationship between customers and firms in the retail telecommunications industry but is also a construct that aptly applies to the employment relationship existing between vendors and their employer. Five themes supporting this conclusion are presented which draw on the results obtained from two focus-groups conducted with Canadian telco vendors in the summer of 2020.

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