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Necessary but not sufficient : governance as co-ordination in global call centre value chains

Taylor, Philip (2012) Necessary but not sufficient : governance as co-ordination in global call centre value chains. In: Society for the Advancement of Socio-Economics, 2012-06-28 - 2012-06-30.

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The political-economic dynamics driving the offshoring of tele-mediated business services from the developed economies are relatively well-known, as is the growth of the BPO industry in India and its call centre component (Dossani and Kenney, 2007). However, the analytical potential of the contrasting, but arguably complementary, Global Commodity Chain, Global Value Chain (GVC), and Global Production Network (GPN) frameworks for understanding the resultant global divisions of service labour remains largely unexplored. This paper draws on a decade’s research into the relocation (and disintermediation) of call centres and advances the author’s (2010) application of GVC concepts to this extensive empirical data. Gerrefi et al’s (2005) notion of ‘governance as co-ordination’ is employed to understand how spatially dispersed elements of the ‘UK-to-India ‘chain’ are integrated. Nevertheless a parsimonious concentration on ‘dyadic’ co-ordinating linkages is integrated with aspects of the more expansive GPN perspective. The value of such a nuanced conceptualisation is enhanced by examining empirical developments following the financial crisis in the US and UK, the source geographies for the largest share of offshored business services.