From Illusiveness to Genuineness : Routines, Trading Zones, Tools and Emotions in Sales Work

University dissertation from Uppsala : Department of Business Studies, Uppsala University

Abstract: Alongside the growing accessibility of information technologies organizations make attempts to structure work even in the areas that have been traditionally perceived as difficult to structure. The rationale is to increase the efficiency of work in the areas that are difficult to manage and where profitability can be questionable. However, as the work becomes standardized it can simultaneously contradict the need for flexibility at work in the organizational areas that have been traditionally been given much freedom to act. One such area represented in the present study is industrial sales.Considering this, the aim of the research is to study the organization of work in the area of organizational sales. Specifically, the ambition is to find out how the chosen company standardizes its sales, what possible gains can be achieved from such standardization, and how the standardization can possibly influence people’s need for flexibility at work.Theoretically, as an analytical instrument, the study makes use of the concept of organizational routines. By doing so, it focuses on stability and change of routines as a base for studying the standardization and flexibility of sales work. Additionally, to explore standardization of communication between occupational boundaries, working with tools and the role of emotions on standardization of sales the study employs the concepts of trading zones, tools and emotions.To address the research problem and answer the questions a case study approach is conducted in Sandvik Corporation. Specifically the study focuses on one of the company’s business areas, Sandvik Materials Technology.In addition to three conclusions regarding communication, using tools and emotions in sales work, the study provides an overall conclusion. The conclusion is that standardization can be carried out in sales work and this can bring about certain affordances, both enabling and constraining. As such, standardization does not need to limit flexibility at work; indeed, it can take it to a new level. Consequently, the study provides implications and delineates contributions.

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