In the context of call centres teamwork remains one of the standard processes for organising work and workers. Through teams identity and commitment can be enhanced, on the job training and mentoring developed and knowledge transfer facilitated. Teams serve both an efficiency and identity function in call centres. Moreover, team leaders become responsible for collective performance indicators. Within the team context pressure is placed on operatives to reach both individual and collective performance goals. Within the call centre literature the ambiguous and contradictory nature of teams has been recognised (Bain and Taylor, 2000; Kinnie et al, 2000; van den Broek, 2002; Townsend, 2004). Teams can become a source of dissent and resistance. Teams can be used to foster recognition and commitment. Teams can be a source of identity and collective action, they can also be a source of rivalry and division. Teams can generate "fun and games" within the call centre context to reduce tedium and operative isolation. Teams can also be used as a form of control and regulation, often without teamwork and without team autonomy. We report on 4 case studies of Australian call centres. The key research questions are: What functions within the call centre does the team perform? ; What are the experiences of the team members within the team? ; What role do the teams contribute to productivity enhancement? ; What role does the team contribute to job quality? ; The case studies were conducted in 2009 and involved a survey and focus group interviews with operatives and team leaders.
1st Asia Pacific Workshop on Teams Under the Auspices of the International Workshop on Teamworking (IWOT). Proceedings of the First Asia-Pacific Workshop on Teams Under the Auspices of the International Workshop on Teamworking (IWOT) (Newcastle, N.S.W. 20-21 August, 2009)