Job characteristics, emotional labour and work-related flow in an insurance industry call centre
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The global call centre industry has experienced significant growth over the past few years. South Africa has experienced the same trend and in addition, is increasingly beginning to appear on the radar screens of international organisations looking at offshoring opportunities. Call centres form a critical link between companies and their customers. Well-run call centres balance operations between the goals of efficiency and service quality, as to ensure satisfied customers. The window of opportunity exists for South Africa to compete and excel in business process outsourcing and call centre industries in English speaking markets such as America, Canada, the United Kingdom and Ireland. In the call centre work environment, the main business is mediated by computer and telephone-based technologies that facilitate remote human encounters between the end customer and the employee over the telephone. Besides being managed and controlled by a relatively small number of managers, call centre agents' activities are often managed, measured and monitored by computer technology. Research has proved that this can place enormous pressure on these employees, resulting in a demanding and stressful job. The objective of this study was to investigate the relationship between job characteristics, emotional labour and work-related flow of call centre agents in an insurance company. A cross-sectional survey design was used with an availability sample (N = 156). A self-constructed instrument, Job Demands and Resources Scale (JDRS), was used to measure the unique job demands and job resources in the insurance industry. In addition to the JDRS, the Frankfurt Emotion Work Scales-E (FEWS) and the Work-Related Flow Scale (WOLF) were used as measuring instruments. The results showed that there is some correlation between the job demands and job resources and their impact on the experience of emotional labour and work-related flow. It further indicated that the availability of some job resources and the lack of job demands are predictors of work-related flow and conversely the presence of job demands and the lack of job resources are in some instances predictors of emotional labour. No differences were found between demographic groups of employees regarding levels of emotional labour and work-related flow.