Under Construction: The Continuing Evolution of Job Structures in Call Centers
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Overview: This paper suggests that job and mobility structures in inbound call centers are indeed evolving, changing iteratively in response to conflicting cost-cutting and service-enhancing objectives. Inbound call centers originated from core functions in some companies (particularly in catalog retail), and peripheral functions in other (store-based retail, insurance, banking). From the start, they embodied the tension between standardization and customization. Retail and finance companies changed course, initially flattening internal labor markets to create call centers but later rebuilding them, at one point enthusiastically broadening jobs but later questioning or reversing this course of action.