28 November 2017

Evolution of the service relation and its professions in the digital age

The case of Orange commercial organisation

GRETS seminar with Nicolas KLEIN, Researcher at Latts (UPEM) and at the Printemps lab (UVSQ)

The session will be introduced by Jérôme CIHUELO (EDF R&D).

Digital trade is booming since the early 2000s and Internet has become a prevailing place for commercial relations. This evolution, that has led to the emergence of new economic players (called "pure player" because of their online only presence) as Amazon, represents as well a new reality that every commercial organisation needs to integrate.

For those organisations, their are multiple stakes linked to this evolution. They need to provide their clients with new online means of contact, to integrate the resulting interactions in their organisation and also to question the logic underneath this new digital relation. Is this digital relation the same than a face-to-face relation or a relation by phone? In other word, can we associate digital relation to sale? Nicolas Klein will try to clarify those questions relying on his thesis work (written within a CIFRE convention) on Orange commercial strategy, organisation and professions, web-adviser in particular (a new profession created by Orange in the early 2010s).

The analysis of the activity and interaction modalities with online clients will help to disclose the balance on which relies web-advisor work. Whereas they recognize to have a commercial dimension in their work, they assert a complete lack of sale in the digital relation and refuse to be called salesman.

Nicolas Klein will show how the web-advisor work could reflect conventions set between companies and consumers in digital spaces, aswell as the latest company commercial strategy directions and the evolutions in other professions such as salesman.

Nicolas Klein is a labour and organisations sociologist. His researchs concern digital work, service relation and dynamics of organisational professions. He recently defended a thesis "Toward sales mutations: Orange, its sales team and the futur of a profession". He is now initiating a post-doctoral research dedicated to the profession of mailman in Printemps lab.


  • Benedetto-Meyer M., Klein N. (2015), « Entre pratique commerciale et travail réputationnel : l’invention d’une nouvelle forme relation client ? », Terrains & Travaux, n°26, pp. 147-166.
  • Klein N. (2017), « La numérisation de la relation de service : quelle place pour la dimension commerciale ? Le cas des webconseillers d’orange », In Benedetto-Meyer M., Cihuelo J. et Largier A., L’organisation face aux transformations de la relation de service, L’Harmattan, Collection « Dossiers Sciences Humaines et Sociales ».
  • Gayoso E., Jammet T., Klein N. (à paraître), « Les plateformes d’innovation, de marque, de conseil : vers une infrastructure numérique de la relation-client ? », Ouvrage collectif du LATTS sur les infrastructures.


Consult the seminars programme of 2017-2018


Tuesday 28 november 2017

9:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

Maison Suger / FMSH

16-18 rue Suger, Paris 6ème

Free entry


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