Taylorism, targets, technology and teams - compatible concepts? Evidence from a US call centre

Hingst, Raymond D. and Lowe, Kevin B. (2008) Taylorism, targets, technology and teams - compatible concepts? Evidence from a US call centre. International Review of Business Research Papers, 4 (5). pp. 157-165. ISSN 1832-9543

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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.


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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Deposited with blanket permission of publisher.
Depositing User: Mr Ray Hingst
Faculty / Department / School: Historic - Faculty of Business - School of Management and Marketing
Date Deposited: 05 Feb 2009 02:56
Last Modified: 17 Aug 2014 09:13
Uncontrolled Keywords: leadership, team processes, group processes, group dynamics
Fields of Research (FOR2008): 14 Economics > 1402 Applied Economics > 140209 Industry Economics and Industrial Organisation
15 Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services > 1503 Business and Management > 150305 Human Resources Management
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/4680

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