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Making a sales advisor : the limits of training 'instrumental empathy'

Kakavelakis, Konstantinos and Felstead, Alan and Fuller, Alison and Jewson, Nick and Unwin, Lorna (2008) Making a sales advisor : the limits of training 'instrumental empathy'. Journal of Vocational Education and Training, 60 (3). pp. 209-221. ISSN 1363-6820. DOI UNSPECIFIED

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The use of participant observation is relatively rare in qualitative studies of vocational education and training. However, such an approach provides a detailed picture of training content and how what is taught contributes to or impedes learning. Based on participant observation, this paper examines the training of sales advisors in a large chain of private fitness clubs. It shows that although the training course taught trainees how to control and enchant customers, once back on 'home' territory trainees approached customers with far less instrumental empathy than they had been taught. This contrast is explained by reference to the past dispositions of sales workers and the local conditions in which the selling process takes place.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: The paper draws on case study evidence from the lerisure and fitness industry gathered as part of an ESRC-funded study of workplace learning and on labour process theory to argue that employees will reject and actively subvert training that requires them to act in ways that they regard as contradictory to their values and occupational/professiona identity.
Controlled Keywords: training, instrumental empathy, sales, participant observation
Divisions: IOE Departments > Departments > Lifelong and Comparative Education
Depositing User: IOE Repository Editor (1)
Date Deposited: 26 Mar 2010 11:58
Last Modified: 29 Jan 2015 08:30
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