Fr-SYM-544-3 - Conducting Participative Job Redesign In A Call Centre

Managing change
Conducting Participative Job Redesign in a Call Centre
C. Axtell 1,*, D. Holman 2
1Sheffield University Management School, Sheffield, 2Manchester Business School, Manchester, United Kingdom
Main Abstract Content: Purpose
The purpose of the intervention was to improve call centre agents’ wellbeing via job redesign. This provided an opportunity to apply job design theory to a call centre context (where there is typically low discretion and high turnover) and to engage in an active participatory process of job redesign. 
The study took place within a call centre within the UK Civil Service.  A version of the Scenarios Planning Tool was adapted for use within a call centre (Holman et al, 2009).  Four teams were involved in the redesign.
The case illustrates three key  principles of participative interventions: ”Ensure Active Engagement” as there was participation of key stakeholders  at all stages; “Understand the Situation - where we start and where we want to go”, as stakeholders outline the current scenario and image a preferred/improved situation, informed by an understanding of the context; and “Draw on Evidence and Theory”, as the intervention was based on job design theory.
The intervention only included 4 teams but needs to expand more widely in the organisation to ensure longevity.
Research/Practical Implications
The active engagement of stakeholders (from senior management to agents themselves) and developing solutions based on job design principles and an understanding of the context enabled the intervention to proceed successfully.  The implemented solution addressed key obstacles and stressors experienced by agents whilst maintaining effectiveness.
Demonstration of successful job-redesign in a context where jobs are typically simplified and there are limitations to the extent of job design possible.


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