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WOMEN'S WORK IN THE INFORMATION ECONOMY: The case of telephone call centres

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This paper is concerned with the work experiences and career opportunities of women employed in technology-intensive offices known as telephone 'call centres'. Call centres have grown rapidly across Europe in recent years, creating a significant number of new jobs and receiving considerable attention within the media, business and academic communities. However, despite the fact that the majority of call centre jobs have been taken by women, researchers have so far paid little attention to their position in this new 'industry'. The article addresses this research gap. In particular, it is concerned with the question of whether call centre work is offering women new opportunities for skill development and career progression, or whether a more familiar trend is taking place in which women are being drawn into a highly routinized, 'de-skilled' and de-valued area of work. The paper also uses the specific example of call centre work in order to reflect on broader issues about the changing nature of women's work and employment in the so-called 'information economy'.
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Keywords: CALL CENTRES; CAREERS; INFORMATION ECONOMY; SKILLS; TECHNOLOGICAL CHANGE; WOMEN'S WORK

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: September 1, 2000

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