Institute for Social and Economic Change

Established in 1972 by Professor V K R V Rao, ISEC is an All-India Institute for Interdisciplinary Research and Training in the Social Sciences

Service with a Smile: A Study Examining Interactive Service Work and Workers (ISW) in India – isec

Service with a Smile: A Study Examining Interactive Service Work and Workers (ISW) in India

Abstract

Interactive service work has emerged as an inseparable aspect of service work since the 1980s in the post-industrial economies. In the present era, there has been a massive expansion of consumer services across the globe; however, little has been known about interactive service work in the context of India. This paper attempts to review the concept of interactive service work as defined in the western economies and analyse how the framework set in the west fits the context of India. The study uses secondary literature to identify the gaps and scope of research in contributing to the understanding of interactive service work. The study reveals through the process of literature review and analysis of data that the understanding of interactive work has been western centric and has neglected issues pertaining to local cultural norms which shape the participation of workers and how they perform interactive work in India. A deeper understanding of class, caste, traditional social norms, aspects of gender and the notion of skills through workers’ participation become crucial areas of focus and further research.

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