Every working day on average, five new contact centres are established in Europe, Middle East and Asia (EMEA).
One of the most pervasive changes to sweep through the modern world has been the combined use of telephone and computer technologies in the organisation of work. The speed, ease and cheapness of transporting information across and between organisations, cities and countries has created a range of opportunities for both job creation and the quality of working life. The transformational potential of information and communication technologies (ICTs) fits well with the popular depiction of the ‘information society’. For Toffler (1980) the information society represents a ‘third wave’ in economic development, following on from agrarian and industrial economies. Utopian visionaries such as Toffler (1980) and Stonier (1983) regarded the latest technological developments as propelling modern societies into a postindustrialist society, which held promises of sweeping away poverty and inequalities along with environmental and ecological problems. In addition, safety at work would be improved as machines took over the dangerous as well as monotonous tasks, allowing humans greater freedom in the creative and informative aspects of work (see, for example, Zuboff 1988). A more critical perspective is, however, adopted by authors such as Lyon (1988), who argues that in many cases the new technologies actually exacerbate, rather than ameliorate, long-standing class and wealth inequalities, leading to less, rather than more, opportunity, freedom and prosperity. A similar dystopian view of the impact of technology on work was proposed by Braverman (1974), who argued that employers’ utilisation of technology is more likely to involve extensive job degradation and reduced worker autonomy. The literature suggests that during a period of prolific spread and growth of ICTs, many employers have failed to notice (or value) iron-clad opportunities for task enhancement, choosing instead to melt down and recast the potential of the technologies into Tayloristic images. This may create, in turn, the same people-management and OHS problems that have