The article's subject is the genesis and development of complaint-handling practices in France's telephone services. It shows that, far from being a new facet of contemporary production models, complaint-handling has its roots in a long historical tradition in the organisation of telephone services. Looking back to three important moments in the history of telecommunications (the telephone crisis at the beginning of the century, the decade of the “telephone modernisation plan” that began in 1974, and the introduction of the “new legal and commercial framework” in the 1990s), we suggest that complaints performed different organisational functions, which shaped complaint-handling in different ways and assigned varying meanings to the complaint. The text depicts the work of complaint-handling as both influencing and reflecting the changes in a public administration that is now a commercial firm. Beyond its descriptive interest, the article raises the question of the management of conflicts with customers and their influence on labour and its organisation.Le texte complet de cet article est disponible en PDF.
Keywords : Complaint, Telephone Departments, Complaint-Handling, Organisation, Market, Client
| First published in French: “La faute, la panne et l’insatisfaction. Une socio-histoire de l’organisation du travail de traitement des réclamations dans les services du téléphone”, Prix du jeune auteur 2014, Sociologie du travail 57 (3), 277-298 (http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.soctra.2015.05.001). Translation: John Crisp.