Kommunikationsarbete på distans
Sammanfattning: This research thesis analyzes the characteristics of communication work in a call centre, by examining the communication work at a Swedish call centre which is outsourced to Latvia. The thesis studies the ways in which communication with the customers is organized, carried out and assigned meaning. Theoretically, the thesis draws on both critical and management-oriented perspectives of work. The empirical investigation combines participant observations at the call centre with individual interviews, mainly conducted with operators and management staff.The communication work is analyzed both as labour and as communicative activity. The concept of labour focuses upon the relation between employer and employee. Therefore, the analysis is placed within the framework of a capitalistic production system, through a survey of the economic and the organisational working conditions. The communicative activity deals with how the telephone conversations with the customers are enacted. In that part of the analyses, the working routines and the meaning making practices are illuminated.As examined in the current research, the communication work is indeed constructed in an alienated manner, through high levels of standardization, immobility, and estrangement from both customers and the customers’ culture. Nonetheless, merely being employed has meant significant economic security for the operators of the Latvian call centre. The operators are incumbents of a society affected by deep economic crises with high unemployment rates. In relation to their broader society, the employees have found meaning within their immediate social situation. This may explain why they endure the monotonous work with few opportunities for development.
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