This paper reviews three studies that examine the main causes of employee stress and well-being in call centres. All three studies were conducted by the author and his colleagues and reveal that employee well-being in call centres is associated with: effective job design; performance monitoring that is not perceived to be intense and which aims to develop employees; supportive management; and, supportive human resource practices. Furthermore, levels of well-being in call centres are shown to compare favourably to other forms of work. The studies challenge the image of call centres as "electronic sweatshops" and question the idea that call centre work is inevitably stressful. It is argued that managers have a choice in how to organise call centre work and can take steps to actively design employee stress out of call centre work. Practical recommendations on how to reduce employee stress in call centres are discussed.
Leadership & Organization Development Journal – Emerald Publishing
Published: May 1, 2003
Keywords: Stress; Job design; Performance monitoring; Human resource management
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