D004 Coursework April 2017 Term Assessment (Report) – 50%
Read the following case study:
The work in the Leeds Call Centre, and its design and running resembles manufacturing industry lean production team. The work is fast paced and the workers are pressurised to achieve the standards set. There is a close management monitoring and control with errors and lack of adherence to standards being punished. Management is mainly preoccupied with cost minimisation and high productivity. The work is narrowly defined and heavily monitored with the strict procedures and instructions relating to the duration of the call, the conversation with customers, and advice to be given to customers. The tasks are highly fragmented, with workers having to follow prescriptive scripting. Call centre operators are given their opening paragraphs, appropriate greetings, the order in which to list any benefits to customers, and instructions on how to close the sale. The managers argue that this helps the operator to structure the call into a coherent and professional interaction with customers. Call centre operators are disciplined for abandoning the scripts, regardless of their success in converting calls into business, i.e. closing the sale.
The training has been provided to the call centre operators. However, the training related to only one aspect of the incoming calls. The workers were trained on standardised calls. Cost minimization was a key theme within the organisation and also in training.
At Leeds Call Centre, staff are rewarded when behaviour delivers results in line with business requirements. Each month, staff performance is reviewed against a number of objectives. This takes place as performance appraisal. Such standards or objectives relate to an average call length, sales of each product, and attention to detail. It also includes adherence to standards and to prescriptive scripting. This performance appraisal system is known as Effective Level Review. The call centre operators can be ranked 1 to 10 in terms of their level of effectiveness. Depending on the score they obtain, they can get an increase in salary after every six months of successful reviews. When employees move through the levels and get high scores this means that they have performed well which in turn can mean that they can be given other tasks instead of answering the phone. This is a welcome change to the employees as the call operator role can become mundane and repetitive and the opportunity to do other tasks is seen as a reward for good performance. Thus it reinforces acceptable behaviour.
Conversely, staff who display behaviour that is not desirable cannot move through these levels, and repeated failure to do so can lead to disciplinary action. This can be seen as punishment. People can become resentful at having their performance graded every month, particularly in those areas where it is their line managers perception of whether or not they have achieved the desired results.
Boddy, D (2010) Management: an Introduction (5th ed.) Harlow, Essex: Financial Times Prentice Hall
Huczynski and Buchanan (2007) Organisational Behaviour (6th ed.) FT Prentice Hall
In 2,200 words, address the following question:
Identify and critically assess the learning strategy illustrated in this case study in relation to the learning theories discussed in this course. Relate learning to motivation.
You must use accepted academic referencing practices to support your analysis. Please refer to the KICL referencing guide on the course page on the VLE.
Notes: Each report should:
Have at least eight (8) academic references using the appropriate referencing style (refer to your Study Skills Guide)
Be clearly structured
Be well-presented. Proof-read it carefully to avoid grammatical and spelling errors.
Be your own work, appropriately referencing the work of others. You should keep a PDF copy of all of the journal articles that you use as you may be asked to show your sources.
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