Call Centre Work -Topics. Relevance of Labour Process Theory ( Braverman ) and the McDonaldization thesis ( Ritzer ) Significance of call centre work as a service re the ‘interaction order’ ( Goffman ) (distanced) interaction and emotional labour ( Hochschild ) Gender stereotypes
Call Centre Work -Topics Relevance of Labour Process Theory (Braverman) and the McDonaldization thesis (Ritzer) Significance of call centre work as a service re the ‘interaction order’ (Goffman) (distanced) interaction and emotional labour (Hochschild) Gender stereotypes Trust and Deception (Goffman) Organisation of call centre work: the tension between individual work and team organisation (Durkheim/Mead) Work and self-identity (Foucault) Control and Resistance Call centres and the restructuring of time and space (Giddens)
Definition Call centres are places of work where telephone and IT equipment are used to provide ‘distanced’ voice-to-voice services
Sweated Labour (Employed) at starvation wages for long hours under poor conditions. Source Concise Oxford Dictionary
Panopticon Panoptic taking in all parts, aspects etc in a single view, all-embracing [from Greek panoptes seeing everything] Source: Collins Concise Dictionary
Scripted Interaction • 5 Steps: • Greet • Fact find • Provide solutions • Close conversation • Follow-up (wrap)
Call Centres & Gender Tendency for: a) Personal service call centre workers to be female. b) Technical service help lines to be staffed by men Does this endorse the distinction between natural abilities (female) and acquired skills (male)?
Call Centres & the Interaction Order Call centres are significant also as sites of distanced, emotional interaction; the smile down the phone. Note the typical focus of Sociology, e.g. Goffman, on face-to-face interaction asthe basic form of social exchange
Trust & Authentic Interaction As well as raising issues concerning emotional labour the use of interaction as a means of production also raises issues concerning the fragility of trust in modern society.
The Construction of Trust • The fragility of trust in modern societies: from Gemeinschaft to Gesellscaft the ‘society of strangers’ Goffman and the con-man
The Construction of Trust • The fragility of trust in modern societies • Teamwork and the construction of trust responsible autonomy versus continuous surveillance
The Construction of Trust • The fragility of trust in modern societies • Teamwork and the construction of trust • Incorporation and the betrayal of trust corporate culture recruitment policy
Panopticism The Panopticon…allows seeing without being seen. 'Such asymmetry of seeing-without-being-seen is, in fact, the very essence of power for Foucault because ultimately, the power to dominate rests on the differential possession of knowledge'"According to Foucault, the new visibility or surveillance afforded by the Panopticon was of two types: The synoptic and the analytic. The Panopticon, in other words, was designed to ensure a 'surveillance which would be both global and individualizing'" • From Barton and Barton, "Modes of Power" (139-41).
Resistance • Not taking calls • ‘Mocking’ the script • Subverting managerial control
Subverting the Interaction Order • Cold Calling: intrusion & abuse • Goal Displacement: quality v. quantity • De-Skilling (interactional skills)
Globalisation of Call Centre work • Giddens and compression of time and space • English as global language • Incentives to relocate (offshoring) • Variable status of call centre work • Effects on local cultures (globalisation or glocalisation)