Consumer Management in the Internet Age: How Customers Became Managers in the Modern Workplace

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Consumer Management in the Internet Age: How Customers Became Managers in the Modern Workplace analyzes online consumer management, a practice in which customers monitor, report on, and – sometimes unwittingly – discipline workers through writing and posting online reviews. Based on case studies of the websites Yelp and Rate My Professors (RMP), the author describes the existence of widespread communities of online reviewers. Online reviewing, a popular contemporary hobby, tells us much about the collapse of the barriers separating work and leisure as well as our need for collective purpose and community--wherever we can find it.

This book additionally explores the economic implications of online reviews, as reviews provide both valuable free content for websites and surveillance of, respectively, restaurant servers and college instructors. Employers can – and in many cases, do – invoke online reviews to discipline and even fire workers, selectively using reviews as a free and ubiquitous “Mystery Shopper.” Whether they are typically read by employers (as in the case of Yelp) or by workers themselves (as in the case of RMP), online reviews have had an effect on the ways in which employees think about and perform their work, illuminating some of the ways that capitalism and our roles within it are changing.

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Lexington Books
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