Customer centres are important channels for sales within insurance companies, with working procedures among employees changing in parallel with increasing demands for productivity and competition. In previous research, work in customer centres has often been described as demanding, monotonous and repetitive, with brief customer encounters, low decision latitude, heavy monitoring and tough sales demands. In this case study involving three regional Norwegian customer service centres – all offices of an international financial group – we identified very different coping strategies and work styles among the customer service representatives. The article analyses the flexibility employees have in their different approaches to sales activities, and the implications for the employees themselves and their workplace.
This article examines a case of transgenerational transmission of stigma taken from modern Norwegian history. While growing up during and after Nazi Germanys occupation of Norway 1940–1945, children of the collaborators of the Nasjonal Samling (NS), were stigmatised and liable to discrimination by others. This incident of indirect stigmatisation is discussed in the light of Goffman (1963) and more recent theories of stigma. Further, the prevalence of stigma-related social problems as well as in-group variation is analysed on the basis of surveys carried out in 1972 and 2001. Results suggest that more than half of the NS-children experienced some of the problems discussed here and that individual variation to a considerable extent is connected with the intensity of the stigma carried by parents.
(Grounded Theory: The classics, the revisionists and the discussion on the theory of science in the social sciences)Grounded theory (GT) is probably one of the most popular approaches to the analysis of qualitative data in sociology, and, in Norway, interest in GT and in its application seem to be increasing. In this article, I take publication of a handbook on GT in 2007, The Sage Handbook of Grounded Theory (edited by Bryant and Charmaz), as my point of departure in overviewing the state of the art of GT. The approach was first presented as an alternative to both grand theory and abstracted empiricism (Mills) in sociology in the 1960s. The founding fathers of GT – Barney Glaser and Anselm Strauss – took different paths during the 1970s and the main reasons for this are discussed. The GT of the first variety was criticized, in particular, for being too inductive, a-theoretical and micro-oriented. The article outlines the main points of this criticism and examines how the revisionists of GT attempt to answer their opponents. Today, the approach is a vital and valuable part of the methodological armamentarium of sociology among those who call themselves GT researchers, but could also usefully be used by other qualitative researchers.