Towards a Tripartite Model of the Employment Relationship: Employers, Employees and Customers in Marketised Varieties of

Jennifer Sappey, Greg BAMBER

    Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperConference paper

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    Abstract

    There is a need to reframe the underlying theoretical assumptions of the employment relationship. In current models it is assumed that there is a bipartite relationship between the employer and employees. Through a study of Australian higher education, we identify the role of customer power in the employment relationship, with student-customers influencing conditions of employment and the organisation of academic work. We conclude that as universities adopt the ‘win-win’ paradigm of customer-focused strategies, student-customers are no longer merely the focus of the output of the employment relationship, but rather are actors in it. This warrants the development of a corollary to current models that will identify and explain the phenomenon of the customer acting as a partial-employer in a tripartite relationship between employer, employee and customer. To make sense of employment relations in contemporary service-sector enterprises such as universities, it is necessary to incorporate consumption into theory building. The concept of the student-customer as ‘partial-employer’ provides an example of how this can be done.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationVarieties of Capitalism
    Subtitle of host publicationOrganisational, Management and Human Resource Implications.
    EditorsJonathan Morris
    Place of PublicationCardiff, Wales
    PublisherCardiff University
    Pages1-22
    Number of pages22
    Publication statusPublished - 2007
    EventAnnual Employment Research Unit Conference - Cardiff Business School, Cardiff University, Wales, United Kingdom
    Duration: 17 Sep 200718 Sep 2007

    Conference

    ConferenceAnnual Employment Research Unit Conference
    CountryUnited Kingdom
    Period17/09/0718/09/07

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  • Cite this

    Sappey, J., & BAMBER, G. (2007). Towards a Tripartite Model of the Employment Relationship: Employers, Employees and Customers in Marketised Varieties of. In J. Morris (Ed.), Varieties of Capitalism: Organisational, Management and Human Resource Implications. (pp. 1-22). Cardiff University.