Telabank call centre organizational structure Essay
This paper analysis the organizational structure of the Telebank Call Centre to understand the amalgamation of the social and the technical elements involved. The various types of social and technical controls that are prevalent in the call centre model of the Telebank are scrutinized to understand the nature of the organizational structure. Lastly, the paper then evaluates the conceptual value and benefits of the using the metaphor that considers the Telebank Call Centre as a Socio Technical Machine.
Telebanking is an innovative electronic solution to banking that assists the bank to offer more services to the bank customers and meet their demands efficiently through a wider area of interaction over phone and internet.
The Telabank call centers, also called the telephone banking center, automate the bank processes like funds transfer, loan payments, currency transactions etc. by providing a widespread support to attend the customer queries and requests over phone (Mandelbaum, 2004). Owing to the nature of business, such Telebank call centers are seen as socio-technical systems, where technology is used in parallel with specific social and organizational strategies to control production.
The Telabank is a perfect example of integrated theoretical understanding of the way social and technological norms are combined to form a model of structural control. The Telabank model institutionalizes control through technology and the control is further exercised by bureaucratic rules. The bureaucratic control prevalent in the Telabank call centre defines the levels of external standards and beliefs as well as standards for internalizing the emotional attitudes of the workforce. The nature of work demands the workers to mould their emotions and vary their voices in a routine manner to transform labor power into profitable output for the bank. Owing to the extent of technology and practical rules being used in the model, the Telebank call center can well be described as a ‘Socio-technical machine’.
The Telabank call centers generally have a flat structure where the customer service representatives and managers all work in cross functional teams with decentralized control and larger span of control as compared to the traditional hierarchical structures. Due to the nature of business, the flat structure lends a convenient platform for delegation of authority, resource allocation and the decision making. The workforce forms the major component of the system and the preening of the social aspect of the workforce commences right from the recruitment stage. The selection process gives equal importance to the technical abilities as well as the social skills of the workforce emphasizing on the unique nature of the call centre model. The technical system at the recruitment level constitutes training the staff to use certain technical equipments, using the Telebank network system based on the basic banking information along with the specific techniques for handling conversations. The varying social personalities and traits are molded by use of techniques which ensure conformance to the stated scripts and conversational control techniques. The technical control creates a common pace of work controlled by automated call distribution system reduces the dependency on individual member of the organization. The continuous monitoring and evaluation is another attribute of the technical control system and is empowered by automated systems that objectify the control to vest power in the line. The performance data produced by technology is combined with bureaucratic rules and procedures to monitor and reward the worker’s performance. The main aim of the structural control being exercised at the Telebank call centers is to provide a consistent and convincing high quality customer service by way of desired warmth, sincerity and rapport on the part of every employee. The social behavior of the staff is technically constrained by way of the scripts and conversation control techniques and leaves little space for the staff to build individualistic approach around pretence and humor.
The intricately interwoven mesh of the technical and social system elements defines Telebank call centre as an excellent fusion of two sub systems. Any changes made in the elements of one of the systems directly affect the elements of the other system. Any substantial changes made to the software system of the Telebank call centre will necessitate an appropriate change to be implemented for the users. Since the social system attitudes and values are objectified, it is important to ensure that they are always in harmony with the rules of the technical system. With the basic control on the social aspect remaining stable, any further changes in the conversational script and guidelines will surely necessitate the corresponding updating of the social elements. Thus, the management utilizes technology in form of software, call distribution systems, recording systems to exercises a strict control on the behavioral norms of the workforce. Considering the social and technical elements as two vital parts of the system, the management regulates and governs the functioning to balance the output to the desired levels of performance. Technology is chosen and combined with specific organizational strategies to control the operations (Callaghan, 2001).
The metaphor that describes the Telebank Call Centre as a socio-technical machine provides valuable insight to the business, hence aiding organizational research and use. The selection of the metaphor is correctly justified by the integration, relation and the correctness of the heuristics. Using the machine metaphor helps in understanding the orderliness of the apparently abstract nature of the call centre business. The stringent technical controls that lay the rules of conversation and scripts for the workforce are analogous to the machine parts that cannot evolve or develop. With the service, cost and competition as the major areas of competition and the meager degree of innovation involved in the job of the Telebank call centre, the structural control aims to provide machine like efficiency. The bureaucratic control works to eradicate the personal attitudes and emotions of the worker being visible to the caller, ensuring that the customer receives the uniform, consistent and programmed response, irrespective of the customer service representative’s identity or mood. The Telebank call centers aim to serve the maximum number of customers efficiently and effectively, thus drawing the similarity between model and the machine. The social and technical elements form two vital cohesive parts of the call center machine, where the technology creates a potential for a social change that is enacted by the workforce. The machine metaphor provides a multidimensional perspective to the evolving relationship of the various technical and social attributes of structure at the Telebank call centre. The machine metaphor proceeds through implicit assertions of comparing the structural control to the parts of the machine, exerting a formative influence on our understanding in a distinctive yet partial ways (Morgan, 2006). The technical elements and the bureaucratic control form an interlocked system which is similar to the machine, where each part plays a clearly defined role in functioning of the whole system. The Telebank call center can not function without the coexistence of the technical system and the social control. At the same time, any divergence in functioning of one of the component parts makes it mandatory to adjust the functioning of the other parts accordingly to ensure smooth working of the Telebank call center mechanism.
Callaghan, G., (2001). Socio-Technical Systems and Call Centers: A Case Study Investigation. Retrieved January 21, 2009 from http://www.data-archive.ac.uk/doc/4606%5Cmrdoc%5Cpdf%5Cq4606uab.pdf
Mandelbaum, A., (2004). Call Centers Version 6. Retrieved January 21, 2009 from http://ie.technion.ac.il/serveng/References/ccbib.pdf
Morgan. G., Images of Organization, Sage (2006) Chapter 1 Retrieved from http://books.google.co.in/books?id=h-f429ueNRYC&pg=PA4&lpg=PA4&dq=utility+of+organizational+metaphor&source=web&ots=X3Fj9ItTOs&sig=iARRFoHc10tJf63OTdFmxMm5494&hl=en&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=3&ct=result
Organizational Metaphors: Organizations as Machines Retrieved January 21, 2009 from. http://www.leadersdirect.com/metaphor.html