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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1959.13/920409
- Australian call centres: time to search for a new management model?
- The University of Newcastle. Faculty of Business & Law, Newcastle Business School
- As businesses restructure their operations the number of call centres is growing through ICT developments. Indeed the ACTU (2002) have argued that call centres are well placed to represent an e-commerce gateway for many companies. The scale, nature, organization and operation of call centres is extremely diverse (Burgess and Connell, 2004) although they share the ability to be organized on a continuous operational basis, they are highly dependent upon ICT platforms and call centre work is capable of being subject to extensive control and surveillance. While research has generated many bleak stories of the work experience in call centres with reference to 20th century workhouses (Callaghan and Thompson, 2001), there are also examples of high levels of job satisfaction combined with job commitment (Kinnie et al, 2001). Kjellerup (2004) has referred to two types of call centre as being either ‘The Galley Slave Model’ or the ‘Coaching Culture Model’. We propose it is time to search for a new management model for call centres that is not at one or other end of the continuum but perhaps somewhere in the middle. For this paper the authors have focused on work in the context of two small-medium sized call centres – with between 50 and 150 seats. This is because much of the research to date has focused on large call centres, with several hundred operatives. As a result in our search for a different management model we intend to look beyond the most commonly examined locations. The purpose of the paper is to first outline the nature and dimensions of the call centre industry in Australia before analysing the drivers of organizational and workplace change in the industry. Next, we consider the substantive job quality issues that surround call centre work. The paper then considers the findings from structured focus groups with operatives and team leaders in the featured Australian call centres in order to determine how the role of management may impact on employee’s perceptions of job quality, commitment and fairness given the drive to increase productivity in the current economic climate. We conclude by proposing a typology for call centre management.
- 17th International Employment Relations Association Conference (IERA 2009). IERA 2009, 17th Annual Conference: Advancing the Quality of HRM & HRD in the Global Economy: Book of Proceedings (Bangkok, Thailand 30 June - 3 July, 2009) p. 53-70
- School of Management, Mahidol University / University of Technology, Sydney
organizational and workplace change;
- Resource Type
- conference paper