Human Resource Management and Occupational Health and Safety

By Carol Boyd | Go to book overview

6

HRM and OHS in the international call centre industry

Every working day on average, five new contact centres are established in Europe, Middle East and Asia (EMEA).

(Datamonitor 2001)

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

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Human Resource Management and Occupational Health and Safety
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Tables vi
  • Preface vii
  • Acknowledgements viii
  • Abbreviations ix
  • Part I - Mapping the Ohs Landscape 1
  • 1 - Human Resource Management and Occupational Health and Safety 3
  • 2 - The Regulatory Politics of Ohs 11
  • 3 - The Social Processes of Ohs 31
  • 4 - Workplace Factors in Ohs 45
  • Part II - Hrm and Ohs in Practice 65
  • 5 - Hrm and Ohs in the International Airline Industry 67
  • 6 - Hrm and Ohs in the International Call Centre Industry 115
  • 7 - Hrm and Ohs Safety Culture in the International Nuclear Power Industry 140
  • 8 - The Verdict 161
  • Notes 167
  • Bibliography 170
  • Author Index 189
  • Subject Index 193
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