- Research Handbooks in Business and Management series
Edited by Adrian Wilkinson, Keith Townsend and Gabriele Suder
The foreman, the top sergeant of the factory floor, is facing a greater challenge – and probably greater frustrations – than ever before. The foreman, management’s first line of contact with labour, is caught up in a strange mix of declining powers but new-found importance. No longer master craftsman or shop room tyrant, the foreman is becoming a key figure in the new gospel of worker participation. But that is not all. Today’s foreman is also inundated in increasingly complicated manufacturing technology, bewildering regulations and demands by number-crunching superiors in the front office for more detailed reporting on production data. (Feder, 1981, section 3, p. 4: cited in Schlesinger and Klein, 1987) Published in the New York Times 30 years ago, this comment would be just as relevant today with ‘foreman’ replaced with ‘front-line manager’ (FLM); ‘factory’ changed to ‘call centre’, ‘hospital’, or any service sector employment; and ‘labour’ changed to ‘human resources’. There is consistent agreement that the person working in this role has always been crucial to organisational performance (Jacoby, 2004; Lowe, 1995; Renwick, 2003, 2004; Martins, 2007; Townsend et al., 2013). Throughout recent decades there has been a steady stream of research demonstrating organisations and, indeed, professions in some cases, evolving, restructuring and changing, although far too often the FLM has been a ‘research finding’ rather than a ‘research focus’.
You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.
Elgaronline requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals. Please login through your library system or with your personal username and password on the homepage.
Non-subscribers can freely search the site, view abstracts/ extracts and download selected front matter and introductory chapters for personal use.
Your library may not have purchased all subject areas. If you are authenticated and think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.