Efficiency, Productivity and Targets: The Gap between Ideology and Reality in the Call Centre

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    This article draws upon data from an ethnographic study of a UK call centre to investigate the claims of efficiency and productivity that underpin service occupations. Neoliberal ideology valorises competition, profitability and the free market, imperatives which filter down to organisational level and manifest as the pursuit of efficiency. The evidence in this paper highlights how the call centre’s quest for efficiency is undermined by inefficiencies that are inherent in management implementation of work routines designed to maximise efficiency. While management practice and automated work routines may not be efficient, they do generate specific outcomes; the oppression, abuse and domination of employees both in relation to conditions of employment and working conditions.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number0
    Pages (from-to)83-96
    Number of pages14
    JournalCritical Sociology
    Issue number1
    Early online date14 Sept 2018
    Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 14 Sept 2018

    Bibliographical note

    Author can archive post-print (ie final draft post-refereeing). For full details see http://www.sherpa.ac.uk/romeo/issn/0896-9205/ [Accessed: 27/07/2018]


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