Academic journal article SA Journal of Human Resource Management

Psychological Capital, Job Demands and Organisational Commitment of Employees in a Call Centre in Durban, South Africa

Academic journal article SA Journal of Human Resource Management

Psychological Capital, Job Demands and Organisational Commitment of Employees in a Call Centre in Durban, South Africa

Article excerpt

Introduction

The call centre industry in South Africa and around the world is growing at a rapid rate and has provided many job opportunities for South Africans with entry-level skills (Benner, 2006). Many organisations internationally, as well as in South Africa, use call centres as a means of service delivery to customers (Gordi, 2006) and therefore as the prevalence of call centres increases in organisations there is a subsequent need to understand the manner in which employees engage with work that is required of them in the call centre environment and to understand how they maintain their commitment to an organisation. Generally call centre work has been affiliated with work that requires a basic level of skill; however, despite this, the demands of call centre work can have an impact on the way in which employees view work and the organisation. The demands placed on call centre employees in relation to customer delivery may take a toll on employees and therefore may cause them to re-evaluate their commitment to the organisation. This is consistent with findings from previous studies (e.g. Holman, 2003), which have revealed that call centre work places high demands on employees. Malhotra and Mukherjee (2004) found a lack of organisational commitment amongst banking call centre employees. Call centre work involves optimising productivity and at the same time delivering exceptional customer service; therefore, it can be characterised as demanding and can often be stressful (Lewig & Dollard, 2003). The choice of subjects for the study is built upon the nature of the call centre work environment, which is often characterised by, amongst others, emotion work, which mostly entails the need to consistently display positive emotional job-requirements (Ortiz-Bonnin, Garcia Buades, Caballer-Hernandez & Zapf, 2013). In support, Holman (2003) adds that call centre work is often associated with high levels of stress, which is most likely caused by the various demands placed on call centre employees. The customer delivery demands that employees in a call centre are faced with may explain why there are low levels of organisational commitment in the call centre environment.

This article reports on a study conducted amongst call centre workers in Durban, South Africa (Pillay, 2012). The motivation for conducting the study is premised on previous findings regarding the nature of call centre work. Previous research suggests that the unpredictable demands of call centre work may be related to employee's commitment to an organisation (Armony & Maglaras, 2004). In light of the increasing interest from researchers in positive psychology, such as the founders Seligman and Csikszentmihalyi (2000) as well as Money, Hillenbrand and Da Camara (2009), there is a need to find ways to help call centre employees to address these job demands and to do so by focusing on ways to enhance employees' positive psychological states and subsequently maintain employees' commitment to the organisation. Much of the research on psychological capital (PsyCap) (e.g. Avey, Luthans & Jensen, 2009; Larson & Luthans, 2006; Luthans, Norman, Avolio & Avey, 2008), which is made up of the constructs hope, optimism, self-efficacy and resiliency, has been conducted internationally, whilst little research sampling call centre employees has been conducted in South Africa.

The central aim of this research is to investigate the relationship between psychological capital, job demands and organisational commitment. Although there has been a considerable amount of research conducted on call centre workers (e.g. Armony & Maglaras, 2004; Benner, 2006; Lewig & Dollard, 2003; Malhotra & Mukherjee, 2004; Norman, 2005), little research addressing organisational commitment of call centre employees has been conducted in South Africa. In addition, despite the existence of numerous studies conducted on psychological capital in many different contexts (e. …

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