ABSTRACT

The chapter provides insights into workers’ reasons for job satisfaction and dissatisfaction concerning interactions with customers and relations with colleagues. Salespersons find in the smiles and thanks received from customers the recognition of the value of their work and their dignity as workers. Interactions with customers also give salespersons the opportunity to find the “unmanaged spaces” where the human factor emerges and momentarily cancels the depersonalization of the customer–worker relation envisioned by the work organization.

Contrary to the previous chapters, the evidence on this issue did not show any substantial difference between New York and Milan. Even the words used by the interviewees were the same. Noticeably, interaction with other human beings entails meanings that go beyond the specificities of the institutional settings.

The chapter also highlights how working conditions and workers characteristics affect their perceptions. In particular, a monotonous and repetitive job, low paid and not enough valorized by supervisors and managers, can be made more meaningful and satisfying by interactions with customers and good relations with colleagues. Moreover, characteristics of workers (age, education, and family condition), together with labor market conditions, affect their expectations and, as a consequence, their evaluation of the job.