A significant proportion of the Indian workforce is engaged as customer service representatives or call centre employees. The National Association of Software and Services Companies in India (NASSCOM) Information Technology–Business Process Management (IT–BPM) industry FY2015 performance review states that India has been able to retain its leadership position in business process outsourcing, despite competitive challenges presented by emerging off-shoring destinations such as Philippines, China and Singapore. These global sourcing services are largely delivered to off-shore destinations across the world through call centres. For India, this has been possible due to a unique set of factors that multiply its value proposition. The key factors being unparalleled cost advantage and being world’s largest pool of employable talent. Despite these positive factors, the call centre jobs, as research suggests, are perceived negatively. The key question then is: India being a massive hub for the call centre jobs, wherein more and more workforce opt for it annually, is it justified to state that it is only doing harm to the employees than good?
An article from the South Asian Journal of Human Resources Management questions the negative generalization of call centre jobs for the Indian population by studying three broad issues:
- If call centres are associated with negative work outcomes, then why do people opt for these jobs?
- If these are high-stress jobs then does it influence the workforce alike?
- Have the previous studies on call centres missed the link of self-worth and job-worth?
In the context of India, because of the abundance of English-speaking graduates, call centres are the important source of employment generation. With differentiated labour markets utilizing more semi-skilled workforce, those employees who are getting more monetary benefits for their limited skills lead to greater self-expectations, thereby, it is expected that these would generate more positive experiences on the job.
However, among the primary issues that are usually reported on call centres are concerns of burnout. The article argues that burnout experiences do not always have a negative impact on the employee’s self-worth. The relationship is, instead, moderated by the impact of job-worth, which acts as a potential individual resource.
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