Acknowledging Language Work. a Study on Public and Private Call Centers.

Tuesday, 12 July 2016: 14:45
Location: Hörsaal 24 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Amado ALARCON ALARCON, Business Administration Department, Universidad Rovira i Virgili, Reus, Spain
Maria MARTINEZ-IGLESIAS, Business Administration and Management, Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Spain
Johanna WOYDACK, Wirtschafts Universitat Wienn, Austria
One notable aspect of informational capitalism is the increasing importance of worker’s language skills and abilities. Language becomes a commodity and a raw material in the production process, potentially objectified through scritps and protocoles. This means new strugles among social partners about how surplus is produced within companies. This paper analyzes language rationalization in the workplace as an element of negotiation between trade unions and business organizations within contact centers in Spain. While business organizations try to homogenize and deskilling the contact centers jobs, unions try to build a professional career by introducing industrial-related arguments based on work autonomy as source of productivity. Our research aims: 1) to identify the different processes of linguistic rationalization aimed at increasing the efficiency of communication, 2) to analyze the position and bargaining arguments used by trade unions and business organizations to achieve collective agreements regarding regulation of linguistic profiles and performance of workers. In the Spanish case, as we show in our paper, the outcome has been the creation of new job categories based on the linguistic autonomy criteria. Research funded by Ministry of Education and Competitvity (FFI-2012-33316).