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PD Dr. Ursula Holtgrewe, FORBA, Vienna ( holtgrewe@forba.at ) ‏. 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

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pd dr ursula holtgrewe forba vienna holtgrewe@forba at
PD Dr. Ursula Holtgrewe, FORBA, Vienna (holtgrewe@forba.at)‏

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
slide2
To what extent are CCs

a globally convergent production model for services

OR / AND

embedded in societal institutional configurations or varieties of capitalism that explain variation?

The research question

slide3
comparative study in 21 countries

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)

the theory perspective what shapes company strategies
The theory perspective: What shapes company strategies?

embeddedness

varieties of capitalism

National business, employment, innovation systems

service cultures

gender regimes and flexible labour markets

convergence

Globalising competition

information and communication technology

Deregulation (finance, telco)

strategies mediated by global consultancies and service providers

service logics and dilemmas

customer segmentation

women's employment

global similarities
Global Similarities

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%).

differences i
Differences I

“co-ordinated market economies”(AT, DK, DE, FR, IL, NL, ES, SE) have better jobs

Lower turnover

Higher wages

Higher discretion

More outsourcing

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.

differences ii
Differences II

B2B CCs have better jobs

Higher wages

Lower turnover

More discretion at work (large business centres)‏

Less frequent monitoring

More permanent full-time employment

More teamwork ‏

Less union presence!

differences iii
Differences III

Outsourced CC have worse jobs

Higher turnover

Lower wages

Less discretion at work

More monitoring

More precarious employment (part-time, fixed-term, agency workers)‏

Less union presence and less union influence!

gcc general findings
GCC: general findings

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!

conclusion from gcc
Conclusion from GCC

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

outsourcing some examples from germany
Outsourcing: some examples from Germany

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.

outsourcing some examples from germany12
Outsourcing: some examples from Germany

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)‏

what to do
What to do?

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

Skills

Discretion

high-trust working environment (use of monitoring)‏

use of agents‘ problem-solving capabilities