Call centres

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingEntry for encyclopedia/dictionary


In slightly more than two decades the call center has transformed the loci and configuration of interactive customer servicing in developed countries. Accurate figures for employment, however, have been notoriously difficult to obtain. In the English-speaking world, notably the United States and the United Kingdom where the call center made the earliest and greatest impact, and elsewhere, it has eluded existing occupational classification. The problem of accessing exact data stems partly from the fact that, with the partial exception of “outsourcing,” call centers do not comprise an industry in itself. Rather, the call center is essentially an organizational form embedded in the servicing, sales, and even professional operations of companies and bodies in diverse sectors. Estimates of the overall workforce size, however, do demonstrate the significance of the call center's impact, both as a source of employment and an area of economic activity. By 2011, perhaps 5–6 million were employed in the United States and 1 million in the United Kingdom and, in the most important offshored geography of India, less than half a million were engaged on international facing services.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe encyclopedia of globalization
Place of PublicationOxford
ISBN (Print)9780470670590
Publication statusPublished - 2 Mar 2012


  • call centres
  • human resource management
  • call center
  • customer servicing
  • developing countries
  • outsourcing


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