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Title: An exploration of leadership practices in Scotland's contact centre industry
Author: Orozco Vidal, Alberto
ISNI:       0000 0004 7972 5732
Awarding Body: Edinburgh Napier University
Current Institution: Edinburgh Napier University
Date of Award: 2019
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The aim of this research was to explore the leadership practices implemented in Scotland's contact centre industry in order to identify the leadership theories adopted in the customer-focused, highly controlled, and standardised environment of contact centres. The study involved a non-probability purposive sample of forty participants, including managers and agents working at operational level in six contact centres. Following an Interpretivist/Constructivist paradigm, the participants' perceptions and lived experiences were analysed and interpreted in order to gain an understanding of leadership in their working environment and thus build an overall view of the reality explored (Lincoln & Guba, 1985; Schwandt, 2000). Considering the exploratory nature of the study and the aim of achieving an in-depth understanding of the phenomenon under investigation, this research followed a qualitative methodology and used semi-structured interviews (with managers) and focus groups (with agents) complemented with non-participant observation as data collection methods (Kerwin-Boudreau & Butler-Kisber, 2016; Saldaña, 2011). The data were examined by means of an Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (Smith, Flowers, & Larkin, 2009). The outcome of the study supported the view that managers tended to implement Transformational Leadership (Bass, 1985; Burns, 1978) since its characteristics were more closely aligned to the agents' perceptions of a leader, especially with regards to nurturing relationships based on support, trust, and respect, thus also evoking the Leader-Member Exchange theory (Dansereau, Graen, & Haga, 1975; Graen & Scandura 1987). In addition, most individual leadership practice (i.e., sole leaders) co-existed with Distributed Leadership (Gronn, 2000, 2002b), which was implemented to differing degrees as a collective leadership practice. The combination of both leadership practices in contact centres, which was mainly intended to promote staff development, provided evidence of Hybrid Leadership configurations (Gronn, 2008, 2009b) found in a context different from education and healthcare. As a main theoretical contribution, this study has extended the overall notion of leadership by Northouse's (2015) adopted in this research and has identified the main leadership theories implemented in Scotland's contact centres. As a practical contribution, this study has expanded the purposes of Hybrid Leadership (Gronn, 2008, 2009b) in a contact centre environment, increasing likewise the knowledge on the practical application of that particular theory.
Supervisor: Watson, Sandra ; Brodie, Jacqueline Sponsor: Edinburgh Napier University
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: leadership practices ; contact centres ; transformational leadership ; hybrid leadership ; 658 General management ; HD28 Management. Industrial Management