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Exploring call center‐enabled organizational mechanisms associated with combinative capabilities

Tzu‐Chuan Chou (Department of Information Management, National Taiwan University of Science and Technology, Taipei, Taiwan)

Management Decision

ISSN: 0025-1747

Article publication date: 28 June 2011




The purpose of this paper is to explore the organizational mechanisms of call centers that are associated with a firm's combinative capabilities and that help to facilitate a firm's absorptive capacities.


The study identifies mechanisms in terms of three types of combinative capabilities: system capabilities, coordination capabilities, and socialization capabilities. A strategy using multiple case studies was adopted; the research is primarily based on 12 interviews in four call centers from industries and public agencies in Taiwan.


The study explores seven organizational mechanisms: centralized information deployment and knowledge encapsulation, active monitoring and avoidance of organizational inertia, information hubs and communication, an interactive control system, a training center and career development, relational asset creation, and job embeddedness. The contingency factors on the development of these mechanisms are also suggested.

Research limitations/implications

The paper bridges the “organizational mechanisms‐combinative capabilities” concepts and the proposed mechanisms and contingency factors should be taken into account in call center design and implementation.

Practical implications

If organizational mechanisms are properly designed, call centers can take on more responsibilities in managing the organization's knowledge assets.


By including a firm's combinative capabilities, the analysis provides a vocabulary that researchers and practitioners can employ in similar contexts so future call center designs and implementations can be compared and benchmarked.



Chou, T. (2011), "Exploring call center‐enabled organizational mechanisms associated with combinative capabilities", Management Decision, Vol. 49 No. 6, pp. 841-859.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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