The contribution of information technology to call center productivity: An organizational design analysis

Frantz Rowe ((LEMNA) and SKEMA Business School, University of Nantes, Nantes, France)
Rolande Marciniak (University of Paris Ouest Nanterre (IDHE), Paris, France)
Cécile Clergeau (University of Angers (GRANEM), Angers, France)

Information Technology & People

ISSN: 0959-3845

Publication date: 15 November 2011

Abstract

Purpose

This paper seeks to offer a strategic and socio technical analysis of the productivity of telephone call centers from the perspective of Galbraith's organizational design theory.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper is based on a quantitative survey of 155 call center managers in France, which benefited from extensive preparation through ten case studies.

Findings

When focusing the analysis on call centers handling only inbound calls, five main factors: the profile of the telephone operators, division of labor, goals, reward system and the technology – including automated call distribution, computer telephony integration and e‐mail – are found to be important productivity enhancers

Research limitations/implications

Perceptual measures when used are based on single items.

Practical implications

The findings confirm the paramount impact of human resources' profile on the efficiency of call centers. As expected, automated call distribution is above all a productivity tool and should be recommended to all call centers

Social implications

Division of labor is important but, beyond a personal relationship with each customer, work in call centers has a collective component, which is best reflected by the efficiency of collective rewards.

Originality/value

The paper provides an evaluation method of call center productivity based on a first literature review on call centers from an IS perspective. It adapts Galbraith's organizational design theory and shows that for inbound call centers, which can be considered as a group of domains or set of tasks in Galbraith's organizational design theory, people, structure, goals assigned, rewards and IT all have an impact on productivity measured with the rate of efficiency.

Keywords

Citation

Rowe, F., Marciniak, R. and Clergeau, C. (2011), "The contribution of information technology to call center productivity: An organizational design analysis", Information Technology & People, Vol. 24 No. 4, pp. 336-361. https://doi.org/10.1108/09593841111182278

Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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