Communicating in Professions and Organizations

Linguistic Ethnography of a Multilingual Call Center

London Calling

Authors: Woydack, Johanna

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  • Provides a linguistic ethnography of institutional texts in a multilingual call center
  • Explores key issues in the contemporary workplace including conditions of employment, recruitment, standardization practices, global reach and communication, and surveillance
  • Offers new insights on contemporary debates about resistance, agency, and compliance in globalized workplaces
  • Examines “the career of a call center script” as it evolves in its transit through an organizational hierarchy
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eBook $79.99
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  • ISBN 978-3-319-93323-8
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: EPUB, PDF
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover $99.99
price for Mexico
  • ISBN 978-3-319-93322-1
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Institutional customers should get in touch with their account manager
  • Covid-19 shipping restrictions & severe weather in the US may cause delays
  • Usually ready to be dispatched within 3 to 5 business days, if in stock
Softcover $99.99
price for Mexico
  • ISBN 978-3-030-06639-0
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Institutional customers should get in touch with their account manager
  • Covid-19 shipping restrictions & severe weather in the US may cause delays
  • Usually ready to be dispatched within 3 to 5 business days, if in stock
About this book

This book presents an innovative institutional transpositional ethnography that examines the textual trajectory of “the life of a calling script” from production by corporate management and clients to recontextualization by middle management and finally to application by agents in phone interactions. Drawing on an extensive original research it provides a behind-the-scenes view of a multilingual call center in London and critiques the archetypal modern workplace practices including extensive use of monitoring and standardization and use of low-skilled precariat labor. In doing so, it offers fresh perspectives on contemporary debates about resistance, agency, and compliance in globalized workplaces. This study will provide a valuable resource to students and scholars of management studies, communication, sociolinguistics, and linguistic anthropology.

About the authors

Johanna Woydack is Assistant Professor at Vienna University of Economics and Business, Austria.

Reviews

“Woydack provides a thorough and critical review of the literature as well as an excellent example of how to bring innovative theoretical and methodological approaches to the study of call centers. Woydack’s book is necessary reading for anyone engaging in linguistic ethnography or qualitative analysis of organizations or institutions as her tracking of textual trajectories throughout the call center provides an exceptionally useful methodological approach for research in contexts where texts can be omnipresent and yet ever-elusive to researchers.” (Grace Fay Cooper, Sociolinguistic Studies, Vol. 13 (2-4), 2019)

“This book provides a unique perspective on the subject. While there are many examples of the script and how team leaders and agents would modify the master script, it would be helpful to have some authentic call samples to illustrate the actual exchanges. Professional communication, sociolinguistics and perhaps also business operation researchers will find this book useful.” (Jon S. Y. Hui, Language in Society, Vol. 48, 2019)

“The book offers a new perspective on the contemporary debate on workplace standardization. The volume will be of interest to students and scholars interested in politeness research and intercultural communication as well as to call centre managers and business communication trainers.” (Sara Orthaber, Discourse & Communication, Vol. 13 (5), 2019)


“Woydack provides an illuminating insider look into call centers and how call agents operate interactionally and textually, within the organization itself and with clients on the end of the phone line. The importance of the standardized script, which is frustratingly familiar to most people, is investigated in terms of top-down accountability, training, and monitoring alongside bottom-up resistance and agency on the part of call center agents. A fascinating ethnographic study of a multilingual globalized workplace.” (Colleen Cotter, Queen Mary University of London, UK)

“This innovative study of a multilingual centre draws on unprecedented ethnographic access. Four years of participant observation provide Woydack with an insider understanding that enables her to challenge established critiques of standardization. Detailed analysis shows the agency of staff as they negotiate the demands of the script, their own communicative repertoires, and immediate interactional realities. Her research provides a fascinating glimpse into a little-understood setting, and a nuanced understanding of the contemporary workplace.” (Karin Tusting, Lancaster University, UK)

“By placing script trajectories in the centre of this linguistic ethnography, Woydack constructs an insightful and engaging account of language practices in a globally operating call center. Her study weaves together recontextualization analysis and elements of workplace studies in a highly innovative way.” (Jannis Androutsopoulos, University of Hamburg, Germany)

“This book provides a fresh and insightful exploration into how call centre agents develop and use language at work. The researcher was able to do this because of her unique position within this workplace: she being one of the agents herself. This allowed her to provide a deep ethnographic account of how agents are recruited, trained and managed in this call centre, where many previous studies have relied on less knowledge and understanding of the actual and nuanced work situation.” (Jane Lockwood, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University)

 


Table of contents (6 chapters)

Table of contents (6 chapters)

Buy this book

eBook $79.99
price for Mexico
  • ISBN 978-3-319-93323-8
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: EPUB, PDF
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover $99.99
price for Mexico
  • ISBN 978-3-319-93322-1
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Institutional customers should get in touch with their account manager
  • Covid-19 shipping restrictions & severe weather in the US may cause delays
  • Usually ready to be dispatched within 3 to 5 business days, if in stock
Softcover $99.99
price for Mexico
  • ISBN 978-3-030-06639-0
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Institutional customers should get in touch with their account manager
  • Covid-19 shipping restrictions & severe weather in the US may cause delays
  • Usually ready to be dispatched within 3 to 5 business days, if in stock

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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
Linguistic Ethnography of a Multilingual Call Center
Book Subtitle
London Calling
Authors
Series Title
Communicating in Professions and Organizations
Copyright
2019
Publisher
Palgrave Macmillan
Copyright Holder
The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s)
eBook ISBN
978-3-319-93323-8
DOI
10.1007/978-3-319-93323-8
Hardcover ISBN
978-3-319-93322-1
Softcover ISBN
978-3-030-06639-0
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
XV, 214
Number of Illustrations
38 b/w illustrations
Topics