Gender, emotional labour and teamworking in a call centre

Gender, emotional labour and teamworking in a call centre This article examines teamworking in a call centre and how this is shaped for the employees by an increase in technical control, the dynamics of emotional labour and gender politics. The research is based on a case study of call centre work organisation in different sectors, and this paper draws specifically on ethnographic research on two teams and their managers in broadcasting. Drawing on theoretical insights, it suggests that teamworking results in a fundamental contradiction involving a "soft" discourse versus a regime of increasing managerial control. Participation is measured against Thompson and Wallace's three-dimensional notion of participation, showing that employees have little discretion over the way work is organised. The normative aspect of team organisation accommodates managerial coping strategies in conditions of staff shortage via numerical flexibility. However, management's efforts to disguise control are resisted by employees who transform workplace discourses into an oppositional politics, shattering the illusion of unity promoted by the pundits of team organisation. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Personnel Review Emerald Publishing

Gender, emotional labour and teamworking in a call centre

Personnel Review, Volume 31 (3): 21 – Jun 1, 2002

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © 2002 MCB UP Ltd. All rights reserved.
ISSN
0048-3486
DOI
10.1108/00483480210422714
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

This article examines teamworking in a call centre and how this is shaped for the employees by an increase in technical control, the dynamics of emotional labour and gender politics. The research is based on a case study of call centre work organisation in different sectors, and this paper draws specifically on ethnographic research on two teams and their managers in broadcasting. Drawing on theoretical insights, it suggests that teamworking results in a fundamental contradiction involving a "soft" discourse versus a regime of increasing managerial control. Participation is measured against Thompson and Wallace's three-dimensional notion of participation, showing that employees have little discretion over the way work is organised. The normative aspect of team organisation accommodates managerial coping strategies in conditions of staff shortage via numerical flexibility. However, management's efforts to disguise control are resisted by employees who transform workplace discourses into an oppositional politics, shattering the illusion of unity promoted by the pundits of team organisation.

Journal

Personnel ReviewEmerald Publishing

Published: Jun 1, 2002

Keywords: Teamwork; Management control; Gender; Participation; Resistance

References

  • Six of one and half a dozen of the other: the gender subtext of Taylorism and team‐based work
    Benschop, Y; Doorewaard, H
  • Pushing back the frontiers: management control and work intensification under JIT/TQM factory regimes
    Delbridge, R; Turnbull, P; Wilkinson, A
  • What happens when the phone goes wild? Staff, stress and spaces for escape in a BPR telephone banking work regime
    Knights, D; McCabe, D
  • Redesigning production through teamworking: case studies from the Volvo Truck Corporation
    Thompson, P; Wallace, T.
  • Empowerment, theory and practice
    Wilkinson, A.

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