The importance of customer service is widely emphasized in business today. This book offers the first comprehensive analysis of the organization and dynamics of front-line work. The volume is based on a four-year study of over a thousand employees and eight leading companies in the United States, Australia, and Japan. On the Front Line reveals similarities and differences found in work environments--such as variance in authority relations and division of labor--as well as significant contrasts between management approaches used in Japan and those used in the United States and Australia. By examining how work differs among service, sales, and knowledge-based settings, it also shows how bureaucratic, entrepreneurial, and network forms of organization coexist in the informational economy. This seminal analysis of work in the service sector offers both a benchmark for consultants working with customer-contact organizations and valuable information for anyone concerned with the changing nature of work.