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Call centres and human resource management

Taylor, P. (2004) Call centres and human resource management. [Review]

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A new book dedicated to academic research on call centres is welcome, not least for one obvious reason. In the last decade and a half, the call centre has transformed the structure and nature of interactive service work and employment in advanced countries, amounting to nothing less than 'a revolution in service delivery systems' in the judgement of two of the volume's contributors (Batt and Moynihan: 25). No area of economic activity where customer servicing takes place - from telecommunications and financial services to holidays and shopping or, indeed, government services - has, it seems, remained impervious to the call centre's onward march. The pace of growth has been staggering, to the point where approximately six million now work in the sector in the US, between 500,000 and 750,000 in the UK and, as offshoring has grown, perhaps 120,000 are employed in the Indian industry. Since much of this employment is concentrated in specific regions, cities/ towns and conurbations, which often have been affected by the decline of traditional industries, call centres frequently represent the most significant source of new employment.