n Ergonomics SA : Journal of the Ergonomics Society of South Africa - Organisational climate, job tension and job satisfaction in a South African call centre case study




The focus of this case study is a random sample of call centre agents drawn from the population of agents in a corporate call centre of a major telecommunications organisation in South Africa. As is typical in South Africa, work for these call centre agents is organised on the mass service model consisting of highly paced interactions with clients, often underpinned by access to computer based data systems to assist in solving problems or guiding interactions. In this work design call centre operators commonly encounter a combination of constrained work postures, highly repetitive short cycle span interactions, restricted co-worker communication, and continuous electronic performance monitoring. These working conditions are always likely to result in physical and mental strain on the agent. This case study describes the relationship between the organisational climate developed under these working conditions and concomitant factors of job satisfaction and job-related tension. The case study then takes, as its target for analysis, the score profiles of call centre agents' experiences of work as captured on these key variables and reports on the main features that contribute to the positive and negative experiences of work. Findings indicate that more insight is gained about the work experiences of these call centre agents from the piecemeal analysis of these profiles than is gained solely through an inspection of summary statistics, such as means, standard deviations and correlation coefficients. Findings are discussed in the context of alternative work design and management of call centre enterprises.


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