Technical labour in an engineering boutique: Interpretive frameworks of sales and R&D engineers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)205-222
Number of pages18
JournalWork, Employment and Society
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Accounting
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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