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recommended in training and appraisal materials for call centre operators bear
a striking resemblance to ways of speaking that are associated, in the popular
imagination and also in some instances by empirical research, with women
speakers rather than men. This might prompt the question: do the style
designers themselves make the connection?
In my view, the answer to this question is `yes and no'. On one hand, there is
evidence that many call centre managers regard young women, in particular,
as `naturally' suited to the work (Reardon 1996). That the preference for
women is based at least partly on a perception of them as `better' at certain
kinds of interpersonal communication is illustrated by the following remarks,
quoted by Melissa Tyler and Steve Taylor from an interview with a manager at
an airline reservation call centre:
The vast, vast majority of the agents we select are women . . . it's not as if we don't get
men applying for the job, up here [in north east England, an area of high unemployment ±
DC] you tend to get applica...
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- Spring '08
- The Land