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How can I help you ? Call centres, classification work and coordination

David Martin, Jacki O'Neill, Dave Randall, Mark Rouncefield
As a comparatively novel but increasingly pervasive organizational arrangement, Call Centres have been a focus for recent resarch. This paper identifies lessons for organizational and technological design through an examination of Call Centres and "classification" work - explicating what Star (1992) terms the "open black box". Classification is a central means by which organizations standardise procedure, assess productivity, develop services and re-organise business. Instituted by the classification processes of organizational change, Call Centres are constitutive of those very classifications through mundane everyday organizational work. Technology takes a central role as a means through which procedure and practice is implemented, as the tool for recording, sorting, highlighting information as a resource for further work. There is an intimate tie between classification and systems lifecycle. Consequently, consideration of the linkages between classification work and systems design transcend conventional "implications" approaches because it is couched in terms already salient to designers.
To appear in Journal of CSCW
2007
2007/009