Perhaps the most striking instance of technological

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Unformatted text preview: work, while the software used for functions like retrieving telephone numbers, bank account details and rail timetables shapes the sequence and content of many routines. Perhaps the most striking instance of technological control in call centres, however, is hi-tech surveillance. Supervisors can see at the click of a mouse how all members of their team are occupied (in some centres operators who propose to visit the bathroom must key a special code in on their computers so their supervisor can assess whether the time they spend there is reasonable), and they can constantly monitor performance statistics (e.g. how many calls a given operator has taken during a shift and what their average duration has been). In addition, as I noted earlier, the phone system is typically set up to permit `silent listening' by supervisors to calls in progress, and taping of calls for retrospective assessment. These surveillance practices focus more speci®cally on the operator's handling of the interactional task, rather than simply on her/his perfo...
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