Teams in call centres: does size make a difference?

Taylor & Francis Group
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Labour and Industry: a journal of the social and economic relations of work, 2013, 23 (2), pp. 121 - 136
Issue Date:
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In terms of service work, teams tend to be more prevalent in call centres than in other service industries. While the literature highlights key debates surrounding the use of teams in call centres, most of it is drawn from studies on large call centres that range in size from several hundred to several thousand seats. This article sets out to consider how the functions and experience of teams varies on the basis of call centre size by conducting case studies in three large and three small call centres. Findings indicate that large call centres are more likely to monitor performance on a team basis and use teams as a means of maintaining structural control, while small call centres did not have the capacity to engage in rivalry and competition as a means of establishing team identity. Instead, teams provided social support and were associated with team 'longevity' - a feature that was not apparent in the large call centres.
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