Humanizing the Workplace: Work Intensity and the Role of Coworkers and Supervisors
It has been observed that customer service workers often develop mutually supportive coping strategies to protect themselves from the emotional strain of overwork. These strategies can receive tacit support from supervisors who may accept them as a means of getting the work done. The study explores the impact of a number of different forms of support on emotional exhaustion amongst a group of 480 call centre workers focusing in particular on the role of supportive behaviours relating to absence-taking. The research shows that a supportive co-worker absence culture and team leader absence permissiveness can lessen the effects of job demands on emotional exhaustion and improve worker well being. The implications of these findings are discussed.
Keywords: Call Centres, Overwork, Co-worker Support, Absence Culture
Prof. Stephen Deery
Professor of Human Resource Management, Department of Management, King's College London