Academic journal article Asian Social Science

Analytical Study of Values of Business Process Outsourcing Employees to Address Issue of Attrition and Suggestion of Work Life Balance Intervention

Academic journal article Asian Social Science

Analytical Study of Values of Business Process Outsourcing Employees to Address Issue of Attrition and Suggestion of Work Life Balance Intervention

Article excerpt


Business process outsourcing sector (BPO) offered opportunities for employment to a large number of persons with diverse skill sets in India. However, the industry is plagued by attrition of employees due to technological intensity, work intensity at the intersection of globalization and liberalization made organizations to adopt high performance work practices and higher working hours. Values and changes in value priorities are considered as axial principle and are posited to impact attrition. Values priorities are measured using factor analysis and thirteen of them are identified in the context of BPO sector is identified, measured and ordered. The value priorities provided insights to design human resource interventions to discourage hedonistic practices and encourage work life balance which may help organizations to tide over the issue of attrition.

Keywords: outsourcing, values, value priorities, work life balance.

1. Introduction

By working faithfully eight hours a day, you may eventually get to be boss and work twelve hours a day.

Robert Frost (1875-1963), US poet (attrib.)

Robert Frost observation of the work pressure on high performance organizations, summarizes the need for work life balance and having fulfillment in work. However, Business process Outsourcing Industry (referred as BPO) provides a paradoxical situation where employees are provided with all needed physical comfort and perks and at the same time plagued by attrition. The BPO industry is referred to as 'electronic sweat shops' and employees as "battery hens" illustrated by the intense and stressful nature of jobs (Taylor & Bain, 2005; Fermie & Metcalf, 1998; Russell, 2008). Call center jobs are considered low quality and heavily routinized forms of work. It is conjectured that production line call centers proliferate as organizations embark on cost cutting (Batt & Moynihan, 2002; Huselid, 1995). Budhwar et al. (2009) signifies that a number of health, social and psychological problems of employees leading to attrition is affecting the BPO industry. The attrition rate are ranging from as high as 80% to a low 25% for different types of organizations, and averaging to 37% for metros in India (Rajeev & Vani, 2008, 2009). This is considered to be the most significant weakness in this sector. In summation, the issues further accentuated by "graveyard shifts" to equal working hours in other countries, which is likely to result in employees being subjected to further accent. Critique of research in BPO organizations may be divided as research relating to call centers (as it is cited in western lands) and research in Information technology enabled services in India.

1.1 Western Research Context

The western research predominantly conducted in Australia, Europe, United Kingdom, Sweden and France relating to human resources, is concerned with labor process theory, effect of performance monitoring, emotional labor, wellbeing, role of call centers as unit of society, the new way of organizational arrangement, new economic networks, gendered work places, occupational and ergonomic studies, relationship of capital and labor, cost savings, quality of jobs, sociolinguistics enriched by qualitative and quantitative studies. The literature brings forth the striking contrast of labor markets in western countries characterized by lower levels of educational attainment, older age profiles and varied perceptions of opportunity and aspiration. The BPO organizations practice high performance management, which may require a better work life balance (White, Hill, McGovern, Mills & Smeaton, 2003). However, what should be an axial principle for anchors to address the issue of work life balance? And this question needs for deeper study.

1.2 Indian Context

The Indian labor market is characterized by young work force that has higher educational attainment, ambitious, curious, interest in western working practices and lifestyles. …

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