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Title: Psychosocial risk factors for call centre employees
Author: Sprigg, Christine Ann
ISNI:       0000 0001 2410 2691
Awarding Body: University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 2011
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Two over-arching research questions are examined in this thesis. These questions concern call centre organisational features (dialogue scripting and performance monitoring), work design (e.g., autonomy, workload, role properties) and health outcomes (psychological strain and MSDs) which are examined using data from 1,141 employees taken from 36 call centres. In the Study 1 the "lean service characteristics" of dialogue scripting and performance monitoring are examined in relation to the prediction of call handler job-related strain. Findings confirm that employees who experience greater dialogue scripting and more intensive performance monitoring show higher levels of strain. These relationships are fully mediated by work design. These findings demonstrate the importance of considering the impact of lean working practices on employee health. In the Study 2, the work characteristics of autonomy and workload are examined in relation to the prediction of musculoskeletal disorders (upper back, lower body and arms). I find that the relationship of workload to upper body and lower back musculoskeletal disorders is largely accounted for by job-related strain. This mediating effect is less evident for arm disorders. Contrary to expectation, job autonomy has neither a direct nor a moderating effect on any musculoskeletal disorder. In Study 3, a systematic literature review of intervention studies in call centres is presented. Sixteen papers are categorised into four intervention domains, namely, i) physical work environment ii) ergonomic iii) job design and iv) health. The majority of studies are ergonomic in nature and the physical work environment is considered also. Study 3 implies that whilst work psychologists examining call centre working practices is a valid exercise it only forms part of a psychosocial risk story and that work psychologists need to work in a more interdisciplinary manner if we are to positively intervene in call centres.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available