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Appears in Collections:eTheses from Stirling Management School legacy departments
Title: Call centre employment a qualitative study
Authors: Dawson, Alison S. F.
Issue Date: 2002
Publisher: University of Stirling
Abstract: This study explores aspects of the nature and experience of call centre employment. In 1972 only 42% of UK households had a home-based telephone (BIFU, 1996). By 2000 98% of UK homes had access to either fixed-line or mobile telephone services (Oftel, 2001). The commercial exploitation of this artifact is now being realised through call centres employing sophisticated information and communications technologies. Virtually unheard of a decade ago, UK call centres provided jobs for an estimated 264,000 people in 2001 (Datamonitor, 1999). They have increasingly attracted public and academic attention, much of the latter focused on issues of employee control and surveilance. This study uses analyses of call centre-related newspaper articles, a survey of Scottish recruitment and employment agencies, covert participant observation, and interviews with agency representatives and call centre employees to explore issues such as recruitment and selection, the nature and experience of employment, and employee turnover in call centres. The ethics of using covert methods are discussed. Four main conclusions emerge from the study. First, call centre employment can be differentiated from other occupations on the basis of recruitment and selection practices, employee skils and differences in work environments, performance monitoring and supervision practices and regulation of workplace behaviour. Second, job characteristics may predispose employees to low levels of job-related well-being and burnout. Third, levels of employee turnover may be linked to occupational novelty and the availability of pre-employment realistic job information. Fourth, automated systems are beginning to replace routine, repetitive, low value tasks, resulting in changes in the nature of call centre employment. Those jobs that remain seem likely to be more demanding with complex tasks and an emphasis on quality rather than quantity of interactions. The implications of the study's findings and conclusions for future research and for call centre employers and their employees are considered.
Type: Thesis or Dissertation
Affiliation: Stirling Management School
Department of Management and Organization

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