[Air-l] Re: road warriors

Bram Dov Abramson bda at bazu.org
Fri May 24 15:54:12 PDT 2002

wellman at chass.utoronto.ca:
>These are managers, professionals and technicians who spend a good deal of
>time traveling, either between organizational offices, or to other
>organizations or conferences. Modally, 2-4 days per week. They live by
>computer-supported and 800-number contact back to their home base. If you
>get into business lounges, you can see them pounding their laptops,
>checking their emails, and talking via 800 numbers to their colleagues
>elsewhere. They spend a lot of time in corporate hotels (e.g., the
>misnamed Holiday Inn), bars, medium-priced restaurants, and airport
>Has anyone seriously studied such folks?

Two thoughts:

1) To the extent that this is pretty much standard operating 
procedure for large accounting and "consultancy" (management, 
strategic, process, IT, engineering etc) firms today, I would be 
surprised if studies hadn't been done on specific aspects of this 
aspect of the professions either in sociology of labour/work or, 
especially, by academics in business school contexts.

2) Again in terms of the nature of these professions themselves -- 
but not the specific microstructures of interaction and materiality 
that sustain the geographic nature of how these professions operate 
-- Saskia Sassen comes to mind, and I suppose that she would cite 
most of the more grounded studies that had been done.  From what I 
have read, which isn't much, that area of research looks at the 
presence of Big-5 accounting firms, of global consulting firms, etc 
as an indicator of "global city"-ness, on which see specifically 

(The latter work also lumps lawyers in with accountants and 
consultants, which I think makes sense from the standpoint of the 
world-city, but less from the standpoint of geographic mobility.  To 
the extent that advertising firms operate on a global network/local 
affiliate relationship, they may stand somewhere in between these two 

>What is their community, with work colleagues and friends -- and household

Might be worth spending a bit of time on thevault.com for flavour.  I 
think that in the U.S.-Europe context there are magazines explicitly 
geared towards people in these professions; they'd have had the 
occasional feature article addressing these issues very specifically.

My experience is that very large proportions of the travel apparatus 
-- airflight, hotels, car rentals, etc -- is specifically geared 
toward this customer base precisely because it is both relatively 
large and relatively inelastic as a customer group.  It would be 
interesting to know the extent to which that targetting affects the 
shape of the travel apparatus at large, and what are the implications 
of that ...


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