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World class computing and information science research at Strathclyde...

The Strathprints institutional repository is a digital archive of University of Strathclyde's Open Access research outputs. Strathprints provides access to thousands of Open Access research papers by University of Strathclyde researchers, including by researchers from the Department of Computer & Information Sciences involved in mathematically structured programming, similarity and metric search, computer security, software systems, combinatronics and digital health.

The Department also includes the iSchool Research Group, which performs leading research into socio-technical phenomena and topics such as information retrieval and information seeking behaviour.

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'A unique working environment': health, sickness and absence management in UK call centres

Taylor, Phil and Baldry, Chris and Bain, Peter and Ellis, Vaughan (2003) 'A unique working environment': health, sickness and absence management in UK call centres. Work, Employment and Society, 17 (3). pp. 435-458. ISSN 0959-0170

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Abstract

This article fills an important gap in our knowledge of call centres by focusing specifically on occupational ill-health. We document the recent emergence of health and safety concerns, assess the responses of employers and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), critique the existing regulatory framework and present a holistic diagnostic model of occupationally induced ill-health. This model is utilized to investigate quantitative and qualitative data from a case study in the privatized utility sector, where the relative contributions to employee sickness and ill-health from factors relating to ergonomics, the built environment and work organization are evaluated. The principal conclusions are that the distinctive character of call-handling is the major cause of occupational ill-health and that effective remedial action would involve radical job re-design. Finally, the limitations of recent HSE guidance are exposed and industrial relations processes and outcomes analysed.