Competent, Connected and Confident: Female Career Success in Call Centres?
Vivienne Hunt, Professor Erling Rasmussen
Abstract: This paper reports on the employment experience of women in New Zealand call centres. It seeks to determine whether women can develop satisfactory career progress.and links the findings to the employment relations context in New Zealand. The study, initiated in 2003, reports on six case studies. Contrary to the prevailing negative portrayal of call centre employment and career paths, our findings demonstrate women are achieving career success in call centres. Management practices can accommodate the different labour market needs of women, and many respondents reported feeling passionate about their jobs. Those working at entry level said they enjoyed meeting people and being part of a workplace, which enhanced their career prospects. Most respondents mentioned the development of skills and confidence. Rather than deskilling, call centre processes have enabled many respondents to become competent, connected and confident.
Overview of the Indian Contact Centre Industry: An Analyst’s Perspective
Dr Catriona Wallace
Accounting for Absence from Work in Australian Call Centres: Re-enter Human Relations Theory?
Steve Frenkel, Marc Orlitzky, Catriona Wallace
Abstract: Based on a survey of Australian call centre managers, this paper explores causal factors associated with absenteeism. Our variables are derived from job design, high performance workplace systems and human relations theory. Regression analysis shows that a model including the following variables -- pursuit of a value-adding strategy, the presence of self-managed teams, more rather than less performance monitoring, managers with longer tenure and higher-level education qualifications -- has relatively strong explanatory power. We argue that our results are best interpreted through the lens of human relations theory, which asserts that the alienating character of service factories can to some extent be humanized by management and worker efforts to build workplace communities.
Call Centres - Research Bibliography with Abstracts
“Computer Technology Providing Leadership and its Effects on Teams and Subordinates in Call Centres”
Abstract: With advanced computer technology pervading the contemporary workplace the study of leadership may need to be re-examined. In addition to leadership from a supervisor, other leadership sources are now apparent. Kerr & Jermier (1978) and Podsakoff’s (1994) revised ‘Substitutes for Leadership’ theory argues that apart from the hierarchical supervisor leadership may be sourced from characteristics of the individual, the task and the organisation. Another source of leadership may be the computer technology employees use. Using data from 45 call centres, 45 managers, 93 team leaders and 553 agents, this study investigates the degree to which computer technology provides leadership and its relationship to team performance and subordinate satisfaction, commitment, performance and intention to turnover.
Computer Technology, Leadership and Subordinate Intention to Turnover in Call Centres
Catriona Wallace, Geoff Eagleson
Abstract: Given the high levels of front-line staff attrition in call centres (Deery and Walsh, 2001) it is of interest to understand what aspects of the workplace, which are within the control of management, influence subordinate turnover. In addition to antecedents such as pay and career (Belt, 2001; Crone, Carey and Dowling, 2001), previous studies have linked leadership and management styles to turnover (Jones, Kantak, Futrell and Johnston, 1996). As many of the management functions in call centres are now provided through the computing system (Batt, 2000), an argument can be made that another possible contributor to turnover in call centres could be the invasive use of computer technology. This study sets out to test the contribution that the ‘computer system providing leadership’ makes to levels of subordinate turnover intentions in call centres.
DATA Model for Call Center Analysis
Dr Valery Trofimov, Professor Paul D. Feigin, Professor Avishai Mandelbaum, Ms Eva Ishay
Abstract: This document describes a data-model that has been developed in order to facilitate statistical analyses based on individual call data from a call center. The model will accommodate call centers consisting of either a single-node or of multi-nodes (i.e., with a multiplicity of logical and/or physical components).
Empirical Analysis of a Call Center
Avishai Mandelbaum, Anat Sakov and Sergey Zeltyn
Human Resource Management and Performance in UK Call Centres
Stephen Wood, David Holman and Christopher Stride
Abstract: Using data from a sample of 145 U.K. call centres, the authors test the core propositions of the strategic human resource management (SHRM) approach that: (a) there are coherent links through the SHRM chain from strategy, through operational requirements, to work design and human resource management, and (b) the fit between the human resource practices and market factors determines organizational performance. Little support for these hypotheses is found as only (a) a few direct relationships between the elements of the SHRM chain are found, and (b) direct relationships, rather than ones moderated by market factors, are found between human resource practices and performance. But key operational requirements are linked to work design, which is itself related to a limited number of human resource practices. The direct effects of work design on key performance indicators are more pronounced than those of human resource practices.
Statistical Analysis of a Telephone Call Center: A Queueing-Science Perspective
Lawrence Brown, Noah Gans, Avishai Mandelbaum, Anat Sakov, Haipeng Shen, Sergey Zeltyn and Linda Zhao
Abstract: A call center is a service network in which agents provide telephone-based services. Customers that seek these services are delayed in tele-queues. This paper summarizes an analysis of a unique record of call center operations. The data comprise a complete operational history of a small banking call center, call by call, over a full year. Taking the perspective of queueing theory, we decompose the service process into three fundamental components: arrivals, customer abandonment behavior and service durations. Each component involves different basic mathematical structures and requires a different style of statistical analysis. Some of the key empirical results are sketched, along with descriptions of the varied techniques required.
Substitutes for leadership revisited: An assessment of the computer system as a substitute for leadership
Abstract: The search for substitutes for leadership has been spectacularly unsuccessful yet the most obvious potential substitute, the computer system, has not been systematically studied. A computer system can provide some of the initiating structure and feedback functions of leadership in an obvious manner, but whether a computer system, used this way, actually substitutes for hierarchical leadership is not clear.
Telephone Call Centers: Tutorial, Review, and Research Prospects
Noah Gans, Ger Koole, Avishai Mandelbaum
Abstract: Telephone call centers are an integral part ofmany businesses, and their economic role is significant and growing. They are also fascinating sociotechnical systems in which the behavior ofcustomers and employees is closely intertwined with physical performance measures. In these environments traditional operational models are ofgr eat value—and at the same time fundamentally limited—in their ability to characterize system performance. We review the state ofr esearch on telephone call centers. We begin with a tutorial on how call centers function and proceed to survey academic research devoted to the management oftheir operations. We then outline important problems that have not been addressed and identify promising directions for future research.
The Sacrificial HR Strategy in Call Centers
Catriona M. Wallace, Geoff Eagleson, Robert Waldersee
Abstract: Balancing the competing objectives of efficiency and service typically requires management compromises to be made. However, some call centers have found that a compromise is not necessary. By using what we have described as a “Sacrificial HR Strategy”, they achieve both efficiency and high levels of service at the same time. This is possible because part of the Sacrificial HR Strategy is the deliberate, frequent replacement of employees in order to provide enthusiastic, motivated customer service at low cost to the organization. The paper describes a multiple-case analysis of four call centers and the Sacrificial HR Strategy they used. The contingencies leading to the appearance of this strategy are discussed.