On the compatibility of Taylorism, targets, technology and teams - evidence from a US Call Centre

Paper


Hingst, Raymond D. and Lowe, Kevin B.. 2007. "On the compatibility of Taylorism, targets, technology and teams - evidence from a US Call Centre." Hoque, Mohammad Ziaul (ed.) 7th International Business Research Conference. Sydney, Australia 03 - 06 Dec 2007 Melbourne, Australia.
Paper/Presentation Title

On the compatibility of Taylorism, targets, technology and teams - evidence from a US Call Centre

Presentation TypePaper
AuthorsHingst, Raymond D. (Author) and Lowe, Kevin B. (Author)
EditorsHoque, Mohammad Ziaul
Journal or Proceedings TitleProceedings of the 7th International Business Research Conference
Number of Pages8
Year2007
Place of PublicationMelbourne, Australia
ISBN9780980455700
Web Address (URL) of Paperhttp://www.econference.com.au/SEVENTH-INTERNATIONAL-BUSINESS-RESEARCH-CONFERENCE-2007.html
Conference/Event7th International Business Research Conference
Event Details
7th International Business Research Conference
Event Date
03 to end of 06 Dec 2007
Event Location
Sydney, Australia
Abstract

Taylorism, targets and technology form a potent mix in call centres where groups of individuals are asked to perform as “teams”. In this paper we explore how ‘task’ oriented concepts interact with the ‘interpersonal relationship’ realm in an environment where group life dominates the notional foundation of a call centre’s organisational structure. Tuckman’s four stage model of sequential group development serves as the theoretical lens through which the role ‘teams’ play in the working environment of a large call centre is examined.

Our analysis of structured interviews conducted in an outbound, financial services call centre in the southern United States reveals the mechanisms by which agents have interpreted their ‘team charter’ to focus on individual achievement of increased remuneration levels. The interplay between these variables indicate that reward mechanisms associated with simple Taylorist targets, imposed on the entry level call centre agents, mitigate against meaningful group development. The advancement through promotion based on individual performance to more challenging, less target based work, is in sharp contrast to their initial training period where ‘team building’ is an essential ingredient of skills acquisition.

KeywordsTaylorism, groups, teams, Tuckman, call centres
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020359999. Other commerce, management, tourism and services not elsewhere classified
350711. Organisational planning and management
350503. Human resources management
Public Notes

File reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher/author.

Byline AffiliationsSchool of Management and Marketing
University of North Carolina, United States
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