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Technical Labour in an Engineering Boutique: Interpretive Frameworks of Sales and R&D Engineers

Asaf Darr
Work, Employment & Society
Vol. 14, No. 2 (June 2000), pp. 205-222
Published by: Sage Publications, Ltd.
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/23747864
Page Count: 18
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Technical Labour in an Engineering Boutique: Interpretive Frameworks of Sales and R&D; Engineers
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Abstract

This ethnographic study of engineers in action introduces an interpretive approach to the recent debate about the factors shaping the organisation of engineering labour within the firm. The study compares the consciousness of kind and of difference developed by R&D and sales engineers (also known as customer engineers) working for an engineering boutique. Two case stories and other field data exemplify that the R&D and the customer engineers not only developed distinct interpretive frameworks, they also enacted them in the course of daily interaction either to protect or to alter an existing jurisdictional map between the two engineering specialities. Discussion suggests that the organisation of engineering labour is partly shaped by the interrelation of interpretive frameworks developed by engineering sub-groups. The possible technisation of sales work in micro-electronics is also discussed.

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