chapter  2
23 Pages

Call Centres: Constructing Flexibility

BySandra Arzbächer, Ursula Holtgrewe, Christian Kerst

This chapter explores the interrelations of organisational and institutional changes towards deregulation which are both prerequisites and consequences of the development of call centres. It investigates the processes of de- and re-institutionalisation under the perspective of flexibility. The chapter discusses that theoretical perspective on call centres uses concepts of neo-institutional organisation theory. It presents results from the project 'Call Centres: Organisational Boundary Units between Neo-Taylorism and Customer Orientation' which explores the establishment and development of call centres on the levels of institutions, organisations and work. The chapter argues that the call centre sector in Germany after a period of social opening is gradually shifting to social closure and institutional consolidation. It illustrates this point in more detail for different areas of institutional life: industrial relations, managing internal flexibility, which includes recruitment and coaching, and call centres in regional contexts. The system of industrial relations works on two levels, the industry level and the plant level.