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PD Dr. Ursula Holtgrewe, FORBA, Vienna ( firstname.lastname@example.org ) . Contribution to the AMICA expert panel, Copenhagen September 3/4, 2007 . Call centres: a global or embedded production model? The 'Global Call Centre Industry' project . To what extent are CCs
Contribution to the AMICA expert panel, Copenhagen September 3/4, 2007Call centres: a global or embedded production model? The 'Global Call Centre Industry' project
a globally convergent production model for services
OR / AND
embedded in societal institutional configurations or varieties of capitalism that explain variation?
The research question
management survey of CCs in 17 countries (n=2,477)
case studies and site visits
co-ordination: Rose Batt, ILR School, Cornell Univ., David Holman, Sheffield University, Ursula Holtgrewe, FORBA
immaterial franchise structure with de-central funding (so far, € 1,000,000 + x)
The Global Call Center Industry Project (www.globalcallcenter.org)
varieties of capitalism
National business, employment, innovation systems
gender regimes and flexible labour markets
information and communication technology
Deregulation (finance, telco)
strategies mediated by global consultancies and service providers
service logics and dilemmas
Young companies, median age 8 years
86% serve national markets.
2/3 are Inhouse-CC.
CC have an mean 49 employees, but ¾ of CC agents work in CC > 230 employees.
Flat hierarchies: 12% of employees are team leaders or managers.
71% of CC employees are women (exception India with 50%).
“co-ordinated market economies”(AT, DK, DE, FR, IL, NL, ES, SE) have better jobs
more part-time work
And more presence of unions!
BUT: CC use nearly all the forms of flexibility that a CME employment system has to offer: e.g. Freelancers in Austria.
B2B CCs have better jobs
More discretion at work (large business centres)
Less frequent monitoring
More permanent full-time employment
Less union presence!
Outsourced CC have worse jobs
Less discretion at work
More precarious employment (part-time, fixed-term, agency workers)
Less union presence and less union influence!
CCs are NOT a picture of convergence.
Size and internationalisation are limited.
Outsourcing abroad follows language lines, India is a special case
Unionisation exists and positively influences working conditions.
Outsourcing “works” and limits union influence
“embedded escapes” of CCs from collective agreements and regulation.
The global electronic sweatshops do not represent the entire picture!
Good jobs in call centres are possible.
Institutions and union presence make positive differences
BUT in co-ordinated market economies there is no reason to feel too smug!
Outsourcing (not necessarily abroad) and cost-cutting strategies may massively challenge previous gains
The company agreement of an independent provider:
performance-based pay not regulated, criteria agreed with customers
This year‘s strike at Deutsche Telekom
Outsourcing sale of CC to independent providers establishment of own CC subsidiary with lower wages etc.
A service provider working for T-mobile
Competes and is networked with all the large ones (Walter, arvato, vivento)
Performance and quality measures agreed with customer
One monthly suggestion for improvements is part of contract with T-mobile
Process defined by T-mobile (50-60 e-mails/day)
Customer requires 2/3 full-time employees
„and the process changes by the hour, I could say” (CEO)
Embed CCs in relational value chains, rather than being captive to large customers
Build, value and retain customer service expertise (across customer segments) in the dimensions of
high-trust working environment (use of monitoring)
use of agents‘ problem-solving capabilities