THE ‘SECOND’ GLOBAL SHIFT: THE OFFSHORING OR GLOBAL SOURCING OF CORPORATE SERVICES AND THE RISE OF DISTANCIATED EMOTIONAL LABOUR

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Abstract:

ABSTRACT.

This paper explores some of the key features of the ‘second’ global shift or offshoring of a range of service functions from America and Europe to countries like India and China. Service offshoring or global sourcing is perceived by the media, policy-making communities and trade unions as a significant threat to existing and future service employment in developed market economies. This paper explores two issues. First, it explores the growth of call centres and data-processing warehouses in India and elsewhere as strategies that are being used to develop a new international spatial division of service labour based on blended delivery systems. Second, it explores the impact that the second global shift is having on service operators living in India. Service work is a hybrid form of work that contains within it various types of emotional labour. Emotional labour is usually understood to be implicated in face-to-face encounters between service producers and consumers. The second global shift, however, involves distanciated emotional labour in which firms located in developed market economies encourage foreign workers to alter the ways in which they project their identities. The offshoring of services to India and China encourages call centre operators based in India and China to become American or English at night and Indian or Chinese during the day. Unlike the first global shift, the geographies of the second global shift are partially determined by a country's colonial heritage.

Keywords: emotional labour; global sourcing; information communication technologies; offshoring; second global shift; services

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-0467.2007.00258.x

Affiliations: School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences, The University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, B15 2TT, UK., Email: j.r.bryson@bham.ac.uk

Publication date: October 1, 2007

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