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THESIS COMPILATION OF THE BEDAN PSYCHOLOGICAL SOCIETY
Academic Year 2008
Stress Appraisal of an Aggressive Call and the Process of Emotional Labor of a Call Center Agent Emotional Labour, Burnout, Job Satisfaction among Philippine Call Center Agents in the Alabang Area The Levels of Occupational Stress and the Coping Mechanism of Call Center Agents Well-Being, Job Satisfaction, and General Health of Call Center Agents in the Alabang Area Job Satisfaction and Locus of Control among Lipa City Call Center Agents
Call Center Agents’ Job Satisfaction and their Intention to Remain in the Agency
Created Annually by
San Beda College – Alabang Bedan Psychological Society
With our sincerest gratitude, we, the graduating students of the Psychology Department Class 2009, would like to thank the following people:
To Mr. Paul Hilario PhD, Ms. Maida Aguirre and Ms. Eva Castronuevo, for their patience and unceasing mentorship that encouraged us to strive for excellence during the completion of our study and attain the highest possible standards set by the department, To all the participants who devoted their time and helped us with our data gathering, To our families and friends, for their undying support and understanding that sustained us throughout this challenging but fulfilling journey, To the Bedan Community, for nurturing our work values, keeping us grounded as Christcentered individuals and standing as a constant reminder of St. Benedict’s philosophy Ora et Labora, and last but not the least, To God, Our Father and Provider, who is the source of our strength and inspiration, making all things possible not only in our college life but in all the aspects of our lives.
• • •
"You answered me when I called to you; with your strength you strengthened me." -Psalm 138:3
"That In All Things, God May Be Glorified!"
Table of Contents
Stress Appraisal of an Aggressive Call and the Process of Emotional Labor of a Call Center Agent………………………………………………….. ………………… Emotional Labour, Burnout, Job Satisfaction among Philippine Call Center Agents in the Alabang Area……………………………………………………………… 23 The Levels of Occupational Stress and the Coping Mechanism of Call Center Agents……………………………………………………… Well-Being, Job Satisfaction, and General Health of Call Center Agents in the Alabang Area ……………………………………………………………………. Job Satisfaction and Locus of Control among Lipa City Call Center Agents Call Center Agents’ Job Satisfaction and their Intention to Remain in the Agency 55 79 101 119
Stress Appraisal of an Aggressive Call and the Process of Emotional Labor of a Call Center Agent
Ronald Miguel B. Castillo
This study aims to examine the process of emotional labor as performed by call center agents when they are faced with an aggressive caller at the other end of the line. The research will investigate the different forms of emotional labor and how and when the call center agent will employ the said techniques in regulating one’s emotions. A total of 250 call center agents participated in the study in which they were asked to answer a 14 item Likert type Emotional Labor Scale (Brotheridge and Lee, 1998; Totterdell & Holman, 2003). Correlation of values between the variables was done in order to test the proposed hypotheses of the research. The results of the study showed that while there was no direct relationship between the gender of the call center agent and what form of emotional labor an agent used during an aggressive call. The results show that both male and female call center agents used both deep acting and surface acting equally as opposed to what is stated in hypothesis 2a, were it is stated that females would use deep acting more and males surface acting. On the other hand both hypothesis 1a and 1b were supported by the study, as the results show that the higher the stress appraisal of a call center agent to a specific aggressive call then the agent would use surface acting, which means the agent is acting on what he or she thinks is effective to solve or get out of the situation appropriately as opposed to deep acting whereas the agent must modify their feelings to match the expressions of the customer and the organization’s requirements. Surface acting was used often when the agent found the call to be highly stressful while deep acting was used when the agent saw the aggressive call as only slightly or not that stressful at all.
Call centers have become an important customer access channel as well as an important source of customer related information. Over the past several years the call center industry has grown into one of the most popular business to get into. The call center industry has provided hundreds and thousands of people the opportunity to work and get paid (Subramaniam (2008). "Call Centers of the Future"). The most basic thing to know when getting into the call center industry is knowing how to listen, how to converse well with the agent’s client, and how to make the clients be satisfied enough with the agent's service to make them inquire again. Though the pressure of speaking with foreigners, who have different ways of talking to other people, is particularly heavy, an agent may encounter a caller that is either incredibly kind or unforgiving rude, which leads to the caller or the client getting all aggressive. If that certain situation happens, how would the agent handle the client? How would the agent feel knowing that he is being shouted at by the person on the other end of the line and he can't do anything about it? The agent will not be able to argue back to the customer, because it will jeopardize his job. How will the agent disperse his or her anger and discontent with the aggressive client after a call? Will he or she displace it to somebody else around him, or does he or she hold it in, which will lead to the agent getting stress and other mentally exhausting conditions one might get in a work environment. And what more if customer aggression happens on a more regular basis? Research on workplace aggression or anger has typically focused more on the boss-employee relationship and even aggression between the employees themselves (Wiley; 2004); However, aggressive customers are also most likely to be the instigators of aggression, and thus may also affect the employee. Customer aggression is more likely to happen on a business that deals with speaking and entertaining clients on a regular basis, because such a job requires a high frequency of interpersonal contact. With having to interact with a different client almost every minute, how many 4
aggressive callers does an agent usually get during his or her shifts? An agent might have a threshold on the number of harsh words or inconcievingely rude remarks made to him/her by the client; and these situations could be very stressful to an agent, especially if it happens on a very frequent rate. Another interesting variable for the study is how each gender reacts to these stressful calls. Do male agents tend to be more calm than their female agent counterparts when faced with a stressful situation? Which of the two genders can cope well against aggressive callers? Customer aggression is a very common thing that every employee must face when they happen. Mixed emotions suddenly arise during the conversation when one must quickly and carefully choose what response must be given that will not only slowly fix the situation but also keep the image and reputation of the company the employee works for. Emotional labor is a complex procedure that employees must go through in order to quickly adjust to the situation properly and precisely (Brotheridge, C. M., & Grandey, A. A., 2002). This study will try to understand what call center agents go through during the emotional labor process and at what levels of stress an agent uses what type of emotional labor, either deep or surface acting. It will also try to find out if gender roles have an effect on the choice of which form of emotional labor a specific male or female call center agent might choose during the conversation period. How would the agent cope with this common work place hassle? In general, these behaviors are related to deleterious work reactions and outcomes such as stress, health problems, and retaliatory behaviors. This study will also help managers in preparing strategies on how their agents should respond to aggressive clients, as it will hopefully serve as a reference in the training of the call center agents, thus making it an interesting topic for study. This research mainly focused on call center employees, whose encounters are limited to voiceto-voice, thus minimizing the possibility that an aggressive customer may do some physical harm to the agents. According to Hochschild (1983), emotional labor done voice-to-voice may be less stressful to the employee than having the agent be face-to-face with the client, since fewer emotion outlets must be regulated. Comparison studies that involve face-to-face interactions are needed so it can be correlated to those studies that involve voice-to-voice only. The venue was only limited to one place since the site is near the researcher’s home and was easily accessible. The surveys were distributed to call center agents working around the Alabang Northgate area where a lot of different call center companies are situated. The area is where the call center agents take their breaks before, during and after their office hours. Since the testing area was informal there might have been a few variables that could have disrupted or affected the agent’s answer during the survey period.
Significance of the Study
Since there are very few studies out there that deal with aggression and emotional labor, this research will help those who are interested in the same field find some helpful resources in expanding their own study. This study can also help call center agents deal with the impending and unavoidable possibility that an aggressive client might be on the other end of the phone so the agents will have an idea on how they can properly organize their emotions while serving their customers and keeping the company’s reputation and image in tact. Managers might also find the data available in this study and use it in order to positively increase an agent’s performance and confidence when dealing with an aggressive customer.
Hypothesis Emotional Labor Emotional labor can at times be confusing to understand due to its difficult and unpredictable nature of occurrence. Ashfort & Humphrey (1993) and Hochschild (1983) assume that emotions are being managed at work in order to meet the display rules stated by the organization and suggest either individual or organizational outcomes of emotional labor. Emotional labor may involve enhancing, faking, or suppressing emotions to modify the emotional expression. Generally, emotions are managed in response to the display rules for the organization or job (Ekman & Friesen, 1989). Many work roles have display rules regarding the emotions that employees should display to the public. For example, when an angry caller is on the other side of the line the call center agent is expected to be calm and carefully choose what emotions and responses he must use that will benefit the image of the organization. Thus the form of emotional labor the agent used is deep acting. Agents might try to use surface acting in which the agent will display whatever emotion is necessary in response to the current situation. Stress Appraisal Stress appraisal refers to an individual’s perception of a stressor as being stressful or threatening (Lazarus & Folkman, 1984). During a conversation with an aggressive client a certain agent might diagnose one call to be highly aggressive while another agent, given the exact same caller might find it to be only slightly. Measuring the stress level of a specific call will give us insight on at which level of stress will a particular agent use deep acting or surface acting. Hypothesis 1a: Surface acting is more likely to be used by those who find specific call to be highly stressful. Hypothesis 1b: Deep acting is more likely to be used by those who find a specific call not that stressful.
Verbal Aggression has been extremely difficult to define because human speech is so widely varied. Some investigators conclude that there are no gender differences in verbal aggression (Bandura, Ross & Ross, 1961, McCabe & Lipscomb, 1998). Other experts assert that males are more verbally aggressive than females (J.H. Williams, 1998). Another research by Cambell & Muncer (1997) states that men and women are equally likely to engage in verbal aggression. A research conducted by Kruml & Geddes (1998) has also demonstrated a relationship between gender and emotional dissonance, such that women reported more cases in which they felt differently than they expressed. This means that female agents are more likely to use surface acting when faced with a emotionally aggressive client. In relation to the work environment concerning emotional labor, Heller (1990) mentioned that emotional labor is gendered, and that men are generally confided to tasks that demand aggressiveness and curtness. Men find themselves in jobs where they must be aggressive towards those that transgress rules, while women are more likely to accomplish tasks while restraining aggression and anger towards others. Hypothesis 2a: Women are more likely to use deep acting rather than surface acting as a form of emotional labor during a conversation involving an aggressive client, while men will most likely choose surface acting.
Review of Literature Studies focusing solely on aggression have been fairly common (Berkowitz, L. 1993; Bjorkqvist, 1994; Field J., 2006). But in this case the study is based on a call center agent's experiences against aggressive and rude callers or receiver’s. Verbal aggression can sometimes severely stress a person out, among other things. It might affect how one would continue to communicate with a person who has initiated the aggressive behavior, or if the agent will feel the need to even continue the conversation. Listening to the caller/client is important in this business as it will tell the agent what to say next and if it were a a statement with some hostile or aggressive behavior what emotions will be included in the agent's next set of responses or actions? Aggression/Verbal Aggression Aggression is defined as a behavior that is intended to injure another person, physically or verbally or to destroy property (Atkinson and Hilgard, 1999). Verbal Aggression's definition is no different, as it is defined as communication intended to cause psychological pain to another person, or communication perceived as having that intent (Infante, 1995). Aggression is always intentional. Whether it is provoked by some hostile intent, rudeness or unprofessionalism by the agent or is invoked by the customer or client itself. Responding effectively to the situation can prevent more aggressive behavior from resurfacing and could effectively reduce the amount of stress on is experiencing.
In a research by (Ko de Ruyter & Martin Wetzels, 2004) It stated that listening is a complex, affective and cognitive behavioral activity consisting of a number of distinct behavioral manifestations. The research mainly focused on perceived listening behavior in voice-to-voice service encounters, but it contains many insights on how a call center agent perceive the caller's intent and how they deal with the situation at hand. Though the journal is not entirely based on verbal aggression, it gives out different ideas on how agents respond to callers and how to satisfy them, giving them more incentive to listen to the agent or whether or not to call again. Attempting to understand how an agent listens and receives the customer's intentions and how they respond to it and having insights from the agents themselves will greatly benefit the research. One factor in this study is the verbal aggression that is handed out by the customers. Since interpersonal communication is important in the call center business verbal aggression is bound to happen. Several studies have revealed that verbal aggression occurs frequently and how it piles up on a call center agent is certainly the issue that this study will try to dive deeper in to. Though there are certainly a lot more stressful things that might happen to a person compared to being verbally abused. If one is repeatedly exposed to even relatively small stressful things, they have been considered as causes of severe stress and health symptoms. In a research conducted by (Grandy, Dickter and Sin, 2004), customer aggression is measured and how this affects the client. The study’s participants were composed of 176 participants from different organizations. It focused mainly on customer verbal aggression and absenteeism. The researchers hypothesized these factors will lead to the agent being absent to avoid such an unpleasant working environment and that they may seek to avoid it whenever possible. Another explanation mentioned in the research as to why customer aggression may relate to absences is through it's influence on burnout. It is explained in the journal that if customer aggression predicts an employee's state of burnout, then they may need a day off or two from work to sort out their emotions and restore lost resources. The results of the research suggested that emotional labor does indeed result in negative outcomes, such as emotional dissonance, job stress, burnout, physical symptoms, and absenteeism. Although this study focuses deeply in these issues which the agents might experience, the research will only cover on how they cope with the issue of being verbally abused by their customers and how they regulate their feelings/emotions or take actions in order to avoid more conflicts and stress. Emotional Regulation and Emotional Labor Emotional self-regulation, also known as emotion regulation or simply ER, is being able to properly regulate one's emotions. It is a complex process that involves the initiating, inhibiting, or modulating the following aspects of functioning: internal feeling states (the subjective experience of emotion), emotion-related cognitions (thought reactions to a situation), emotion-related physiological processes (heart rate, hormonal, or other physiological reactions), and emotion-related behavior (actions or facial expressions related to emotion). Emotion regulation is also defined by (Gross, 1998b) in his research as the processes by which 8
we influence which emotions we have, when we have them, and how we experience and express them. Because emotions are multi componential processes that unfold over time, emotion regulation involves changes in "emotion dynamics" (Thompson, 1990), or the latency, rise time, magnitude, duration and offset of responses in behavioral, experiential, or physiological domains. The journal mainly studies emotional regulation and it's affective, cognitive, and social consequences. In another study conducted by Rafaeli and Sutton (1988), it suggests that displayed emotions can serve as control moves which are an individual’s strategic manipulation of emotional expressions designed to influence the behavior of others. Sutton and Rafaeli (1988) propose that displayed emotions will not only be seen as characteristic of the individual, but will be ascribed to the organization as well. Consequently, organizations generally require emotional labor to ensure the display of positive emotions because it is expected that regulated emotional expression will increase sales through the reinforcement provided to the customer in the form of positive socially desirable emotions. Stress Appraisal According to Lazarus (Stress, Appraisal, and Coping, 1978), although certain environmental demands and pressures produce stress in substantial numbers of people, individual and group differences in the degree and kind of reaction are always evident. People and groups differ in their sensitivity and vulnerability to certain types of events, as well as in their interpretations and reactions. Under comparable conditions, for example, one person responds with anger, another with depression, yet another with anxiety or guilt; and still others feel challenged or threatened. The reason for understanding the stress appraisal process is that in order to survive and flourish people must distinguish between benign and dangerous situation ans. These distinctions are often subtle, complex and abstract and depend on highly versatile and efficient cognitive system made possible by the evolution of a brain capable of symbiotic activity and powered by what we have learned about our world and ourselves through experience. (Lewin, 1986) Emotional Labor in Service roles The role of emotion in the workplace has been a constant though often implicit theme in organizational behavior literature. The interactive effects among the work context, the work content, and the individual’s emotional state- frequently operationalized as satisfaction, intrinsic motivation, stress, and mood – has been examined under such headings as job design (Hackman & Oldham, 1990), decision making and innovation (Isen & Baron, 1991), group dynamics (Smith & berg, 1987), leadership (Yukl, 1998), culture and climate (Schneider, 1990) and physical environment (Sundstrom, 1996). Recent theoretical and empirical work has been focused on how emotions are expressed in the workplace as well as how they are experienced (James, 1998, Parkinson, 1991). This work indicates that the manner in which one display feelings has a strong impact on the quality of service transactions, the attractiveness of the interpersonal climate, and the experience of emotion itself.
Emotion Regulation Process
Deep Acting Surface Acting
Figure 1. Hypothesized direct relationships of variables
Conceptual Paradigm As seen in the framework above (fig. 1) during a conversation verbal aggression might appear from the client, so the agent will attempt to undergo the emotion labor process mentioned above and use one of the strategies of emotion regulation; deep acting and surface acting. Emotional Labor was first defined by sociologist Arlie Hoschchild(1993) as "the management of feeling to create a publicly observable facial and bodily display". She proposes that the emotional
labor processes of surface acting and deep acting correspond to the description of emotional labor as emotion regulation, and can serve as a means to operationalize emotional labor. Following her piece in which she coined this term, several conceptualizations of emotional labor have been proposed. Some conceptual ambiguity persists, but each conceptualization has in common the general underlying assumption that emotional labor involves managing emotions so that they are consistent with organizational or occupational display rules, regardless of whether they are discrepant with internal feeling Employees can display organizationally desired emotions by acting out the emotion. According to Grove, S.J & Fisk (2003) such acting can take two forms: 1. Surface acting, involves "painting on" affective displays, or faking; Surface acting involves an employee's presentation of emotions on his or her "surface" without actually feeling them. The employee in this case puts on a facade as if the emotions are felt, like a "persona). 2. Deep acting, wherein they modify their inner feelings to match the emotion expressions the organization requires. During a conversation with an aggressive client, an agent might use either surface acting or deep acting. In surface acting, according to Gandey (2003) a person puts on a façade, pretending to agree with the person he/she is interacting with just to avoid more inappropriate conversations between the customer and him/herself. This allows the agent to conform with the customers’ requests so the agent won’t get into trouble with his superiors and show a good face. In deep acting, an agent will attempt to ‘change his emotions’ to fit the situation at hand. This enables the agent to match the required displays, in order to seem authentic to the client, or “faking in good faith”. During encounters with clients an agent might encounter aggressive callers, which gives them the need to use the emotion regulation strategies mentioned above. This allows them to take back the control of the flow of the conversation and take hold of the situation. Deep acting is argued to be associated with reduced stress and an increased sense of personal accomplishment; whereas surface acting is associated with increased stress, emotional exhaustion, depression, and a sense of in authenticity. According to Diefendorff & Richard, (2003), emotional labor demands and display rules were viewed as a characteristics of particular occupations, such as restaurant workers, cashiers, hospital workers, bill collectors, counselors, secretaries, and nurses. However, display rules have been conceptualized not only as role requirements of particular occupational groups, but also as interpersonal job demands, which are shared by many kinds of occupations. Stress Appraisal
Stress appraisal refers to an individual’s perception of a stressor as being stressful or threatening (Lazarus & Folkman, 1984). During a conversation with an aggressive client a certain agent might diagnose one call to be highly aggressive while another agent, given the exact same caller might find it to be only slightly. Stress appraisal will be correlated to what form of emotional labor an agent will go through during the conversation process. As the framework clearly shows in figure 1, during the conversation period between the agent and the client where there is verbal aggression present from the client, the call center agent will then engage in the use of either one of the two forms of emotional labor, which are deep acting and surface acting. During this emotional labor process, the client must choose to act out what he thinks is appropriate for the situation, or act out in accordance to the guidelines of the organization by keeping the “service with a smile” persona and keep himself calm and deal with the situation accordingly. Gender of the call center agent was included as a variable in the study to find out its relationship with the two forms of emotional labor, mainly concerned with which of the two emotional labor strategies of interest either one of the gender types will prefer during an aggressive call.
Definition of Terms Emotional Labor Nicky James, in a stimulating essay dedicated to “emotional labour”, defines it as, “the work involved in dealing with other peoples’ feelings, a core component of which is the regulation of emotions” (James, 1989:15). Deep Acting and Surface Acting
Surface acting, which is described as "painting on" affective displays, or faking, and Deep acting, which is modifying inner feelings to match expressions (Grove & Fisk, 1989; Hochschild, 1983). Stress Stress is a biological term which refers to the consequences of the failure of a human or animal body to respond appropriately to emotional or physical threats to the organism, whether actual or imagined (The Stress of Life, Hans Selye, 1956). Gender The word gender is used to describe the characteristics, roles and responsibilities of women and men, boys and girls, which are socially constructed. Gender is related to how we are perceived and expected to think and act as women and men because of the way society is organized, not because of our biological differences (World Health Organization, 1998). Aggression In psychology, as well as other social and behavioral sciences, aggression refers to behavior between members of the same species that is intended to cause pain or harm. Predatory or defensive behavior between members of different species is not normally considered "aggression." Aggression takes a variety of forms among humans and can be physical, mental, or verbal. Aggression should not be confused with assertiveness, although the terms are often used interchangeably among laypeople, e.g. an aggressive salesperson. There are two broad categories of aggression. These include hostile, affective, or retaliatory aggression and instrumental, predatory, or goal-oriented aggression. Empirical research indicates that there is a critical difference between the two, both psychologically and physiologically (Berkowitz, 1993).
Call Center A call centre or call center is a centralized office used for the purpose of receiving and transmitting a large volume of requests by telephone. A call centre is operated by a company to administer incoming product support or information inquiries from consumers. Outgoing calls for telemarketing, clientele, product services, and debt collection are also made. In addition to a call centre, collective handling of letters, faxes, live chat, and e-mails at one location is known as a contact centre.
A call centre is often operated through an extensive open workspace for call centre agents, with work stations that include a computer for each agent, a telephone set/headset connected to a telecom switch, and one or more supervisor stations. It can be independently operated or networked with additional centers, often linked to a corporate computer network, including mainframes, microcomputers and LANs. Increasingly, the voice and data pathways into the centre are linked through a set of new technologies called computer telephony integration (CTI). Most major businesses use call centers to interact with their customers. Examples include utility companies, mail order catalogue retailers, and customer support for computer hardware and software. Some businesses even service internal functions through call centers. Examples of this include help desks, retail financial support, and sales support (Subramaniam, 2008).
Methods Research Design Research design in these kinds of studies is quantitative in nature. This study aims to identify and correlate the different variables of interest in the study. Hypotheses were formulated and through the collection and evaluation of data the hypotheses were proven. Gathering of data was done through the use of a survey which contained 14 items based on a Likert scale ranging from 1 to 5. Quantitative research is primarily about testing theory and making predictions, and the researchers were interested in how the variables included in the study co-vary across cases.
Participants The participants of the study are composed primarily of call center agents both male and female, from different organizations. A sample of 250 individuals was achieved. Participants were chosen in random on purpose to prevent bias and were asked if they worked in a call center. The sample was 56% male. Their age was not asked because it was not a factor in the study. The number of customers each agent interacted with during their shift ranged from 10-55 clients, while averaging a 5-10 minute conversation time with a single customer. The participants were informed of what the topic of the study is and were given a scale called the Emotional Labor Scale, and were told to answer the scale based on their experience in customer aggression. Instruments Emotional Labor Emotional Labor was measured with a likert scale that represented items with emotion regulation/coping strategies an agent might use during his or her encounter with an aggressive customer. As to what form of emotional labor the employee will use will be measured through the use of an emotional labor scale, which are similar to those used in related research and studies (ELS; emotional labor scale, Brotheridge and Lee, 1998; Totterdell & Holman, 2003). Items measuring surface and deep acting, as well as other various variables, the items were based on a review of emotional labor literature and tapped the ideas of regulating emotions by hiding feelings, faking feelings, and modifying feelings as part of the work role (Brotheridge and Grandey, 2002). It is a 14 item Likert type scale. Fourteen items representing the emotion regulation strategies of interest, included in a list of other coping items. The scale is also embedded with other items that seek to identify other variables including the frequency and duration of interaction between customers, intensity which measures how much emotion the agent might convey during the conversation and items concerned about the variety of emotions used during the process of emotional labor. The participants were told to answer the scale based on their experience on customer aggression. Brotheridge and Lee (2002) reported a good combined coefficient alpha for the role characteristics (frequency, intensity and variety) subscales (a = 0.71), as well as for the deep acting and surface acting subscales (a = 0.89, a = 0.86) Stress Appraisal Participants were asked a simple stem question to identify the amount of stress a particular agent gains after a specific experience of aggression from his/her client. For example when asked if an
agent found a particular call to be stressful, the scale will be able to identify the weight of the stress the agent received (1 being 'Not at all’ to 5 being 'Extremely Stressful’). The instrument asked the participant to recall the most recent time the agent experienced an aggressive call, and was asked to rate how stressful it was based on that call. Data Gathering The researcher was able to conduct a survey with call center agents as participants. The venue took place in Alabang Northgate, were all the call center agents from the different companies in the area take their breaks. They were asked by the researcher to answer a simple survey, called the emotional labor scale (Brotheridge and Lee, 1998; Totterdell & Holman, 2003) to test the researcher’s hypotheses of the study. The agents were asked to answer the questions based on their experience on customer aggression, as was explained to them before they were given the survey forms. Data Analysis The data that was gathered from the call center agents from various companies who participated in the research. The data on how call center agents go through emotional labor after getting through an aggressive call was thoroughly analyzed to ensure the validity of the research. Other variables will include the effect of gender in emotion labor, and measuring how stressful a specific call actually is. Gender was correlated to emotional labor in order to find out which of the two genders can effectively regulate their emotions in the duration of an aggressive interaction between their clients. It was also used to find out what form of emotional labor each gender underwent during the conversation process between the client. Stress appraisal was correlated to deep acting and surface acting to find out which group, the low or high stress appraisal group will use deep acting more and vice versa. On emotional labor, the goal was to identify which of the two emotional labor strategies will be used the most, and what specific situations they will be used on. Surface and deep acting will be correlated to how an agent appraises an aggressive call, whether surface acting is more present on agents who find a certain call strongly or only mildly aggressive, and vice versa. The mean and standard deviation, as well as the alphas of every variable were measured in order to accurately get the statistical value of each variable in the study. The program used to measure the values mentioned above was SPSS. Cross Tabulation was also used in order to identify the relationship between the variables mentioned above.
Descriptive Statistics N Gender DeepActing1 SurfaceActing1 Stress Valid N (list wise) 250 250 250 250 250 Minimum 1 3 4 1 Maximum 2 15 15 5 Mean 1.47 9.70 9.38 2.72 Std. Deviation .500 2.330 2.430 1.138
Table 1. Descriptive statistics of variables
Stress Level High stress Low Stress
Surface Acting 0.82 0.67
Deep Acting 0.75 0.79
Table 2. Correlation between stress appraisal and emotional labor
60 40 20
0 100 80 60 40 20 0 Deep Acting Surface Acting
Figure 2. Graphical representation of the use of deep acting and surface acting by gender
Gender * EmotionalLabor Crosstabulation Count EmotionalLabor Gender Total Male Female Deep Acting 50 96 146 Surface Acting 81 22 103 Total 131 118 249
Table 3. Cross Tabulation between Emotional Labor and Gender
Crosstab Count LowStress Gender2 Total Male Female Not at all 22 23 45 Slightly 32 29 61 Mildly 39 27 66 93 79 172 Total
Table 4. Cross Tabulation between Gender and Low Stress appraisal group
Crosstab Count HighStress Slightly Female13032467Tot al1736110145Gend Male Mildly 0 Very 43 Extremly 29 6 Total
er2 78 Table 5. Cross Tabulation between Gender and High Stress appraisal group
Interpretation of Results The tables above show the results of the study in full. In table 1, the mean and standard deviations are tabulated including every variable in the study. The means, standard deviations, and the alphas for each scale variable are presented in the tables and figures above. The majority of the scales showed good consistency in reliability, where an alpha of 0.70 is considered socially acceptable (Nunnally & Bernstein, 1994). The one exception was surface acting, whose alpha was just below the accepted level. Interestingly, hypothesis 2a was supported as seen in Figure 2. Female call center agents used deep acting by a significant margin more than the male agents did during an aggressive encounter with
their customer. Males however used surface acting much more than females, although the figure above shows only a slight difference compared to when the female agents used deep acting more than their male agent counterparts. However, Surface acting and Deep Acting was positively correlated to stress appraisal thus supporting both hypothesis 1a and 1b. As predicted, results show a high level of significance, with a value of 0.82 to surface acting to those who appraised an aggressive call as highly stressful compared to those who used deep acting who only got a significance of 0.75. Furthermore, within the high stress appraisal group, surface acting was significantly more likely than any other regulation response according to the correlations. Hypothesis 1b was also supported: deep acting was more likely during customer aggression for those with low stress appraisal than high. These results show that the call center agents who receive these aggressive calls and find them highly stressful will most likely say things that are currently appropriate for the situation and forget the “service with a smile” policy and go all out on their customer. This study might prove to be useful for call center companies in keeping their agents at bay.
Discussion As there are very few studies that deal with customer aggression, and much less on a call center setting, this study extends the literature on this field. It introduces the importance of verbal aggression from customers as part of a call center agent's workday and it tests the impact of customer aggression on the emotional labor of the agents. It also examines the forms of emotional labor and how these forms come in to play for the call center agents during a conversation where the client is very aggressive. It also shows at what level of stress a specific client might use one of the two forms of emotional labor during these unique aggression encounters. Aggression can be deadly when misplaced and when it is directed at a person he or she might be baffled or don’t know what to do at that certain situation when aggression is misplaced. In voice-tovoice encounters, clients are free to talk aggressively and as customers they have rights to complain
about the services given by the company. This study helps the agents figure out what to do at these kinds of situations without every panicking or feeling stressed in facing aggressive customers. It helps them keep the image of the company and themselves as a reputable and customer friendly organization willing to adjust to the needs of the customer. These forms of emotional labor are very complex and an agent might not understand what is happening until the conversation with the aggressive client is over. At the heat of the conversation an agent might resist giving his opinion on the matter because that’s what they’re trained to do and they have to follow a specific response given to them by their superiors unless told otherwise. These conditions make it hard for the agent to keep his calm whenever he or she is interacting with the customer. At times there are agents who really feel that it is necessary to argue with the customer because the level of aggression is too high and it is becoming too stressful for the agent to keep his image as a friendly agent willing to bend to the whims of the client. The studies’ results will help these agents understand themselves whenever they hang up the phone after a conversation with an aggressive client and stop to think “what did I just say?” They can effectively sort out their personal feelings and try to keep cool as they follow the client all throughout the conversation without ticking of themselves and the costumer. But some callers are extremely rude to yell at the phone when the agent is calmly explaining the situation. Appraising how stressful a call really is and it depends on how much one person is willing to take when he or she is talked to at an extremely rude manner. Those who find specific calls very stressful might cause them to forget their office policy and talk back to the clients. With this study managers and supervisors can train their agents on how to properly respond to these kinds of clients and help them save face in front of the customer and from the company.
Conclusion As this study ends it a lot of questions have been answered and while not every hypotheses was correct, all the lessons learned through this experience will be very well kept hopefully not only by the researcher but also everybody who might get the chance to read this study. As the hypotheses proved Stress Appraisal was positively correlated to emotional labor, as the agents responded to how specifically stressful a certain call is with the appropriate form of emotional labor. Gender had nothing to do with what form of emotional labor to use as both male and female exhibited the use of both forms depending on the situation. While the results are what as they may be, hopefully people will pay heed to the results and execute the appropriate response that is needed for the situation given the limitations on how these agents should act in front of their clients, or over the phone.
As mentioned above both male and female call center agents used both forms of emotional labor equally, only that the females had a slightly higher frequency of use of deep acting than males did. This research shows that both genders respond equally to verbal aggression while taking into consideration the level of aggression the customer gives them. With regards to stress appraisal, both genders responded to a specific level of aggression equally and used both emotional labor forms according to what is most appropriate for the situation. If the agents find that the customer’s level of verbal aggression is highly stressful then they employ the use of surface acting and show emotions not aligned with what he or she needs to display for the job but to show emotions that can solve the problem immediately without going through proper procedure. Those who did encounter aggressive callers who appraised them as not that stressful used deep acting as it allowed them to calmly do their job and make an effort to actually show the emotions needed to be displayed at work.
Recommendations It is recommended that fellow researchers pursue this topic of study as there are very few researches available that deal with client aggression in a voice-to-voice, client center based environment. This study will help them get an idea on how to pursue this area and hopefully it will advance this study further so that future interested researchers will find more resources and material for their study. As study about customer aggression basically deals more with face-to-face encounters between the client and the agent this study will expand the research on voice-to-voice encounters and can therefore be correlated to other studies based on face-to-face encounters in order to assess if there are significant differences between the two forms on how verbal aggression takes place.
References Abraham, R. (1998). Emotional dissonance in organizations: Antecedents, consequences, and moderators. Adelman, P. K. (1995). Emotional labor as a potential source of job stress. In S. L. Sauter & L. R. Murphy (Eds.), Organizational risk factors for job Ashford, B. E. & Humphrey, R. H. (1993). Emotional labor in service roles Brotheridge, C. M., & Grandey, A. A. (2002). Emotional labor and burnout: Comparing two perspectives of ‘people work'. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 60, 17-39. Brotheridge, C. M. & Lee, R. T. (2002). Testing a conservation of resources model of the dynamics of emotional labor. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 7, 57-67.
Cropanzano, R., Rupp, D.E. & Byrne, Z.S. (2003). The relationship of emotional exhaustion to work attitudes, job performance and organizational citizenship behaviors. Journal of Applied Psychology, 88(1), 160-169. Diefendorff, J. M., & Richard, E. M. (2003). Antecedents and consequences of emotional display rule perceptions. Journal of Applied Psychology, 88, 284-294. Erickson, R. J., & Wharton, A. S. (1997). Inauthenticity and depression: Assessing the consequences of interactive service work. Work and Occupations, 24(2), 188 – 213. Friedman, H. S., Prince, L. M., Riggio, R. E., & DiMatteo, R. (1980). Understanding and assessing nonverbal expressiveness: The affective communication test. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 39, 333-351. Glomb, T.M., Kammeyer-Mueller, J. & Rotundo, M. (2004). Emotional Labor Demands and Compensating Wage Differentials. Journal of Applied Psychology 89, 700-714. Grandey, A.A. (2000). Emotion regulation in the workplace: A new way to conceptualize amotional labor. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 5, 59-100. Grandey,A., Dickter, D. & Sin, H.P. (2004). The customer is not always right: Customer verbal aggression toward service employees. journal of Organizational Behavior, 25(3), 397-418. Grandey, A.A., Fisk, G.M. & Steiner, D.D. (2005). Must "service with a smile" be stressful? The moderate role f personal control for American and French employees. Journal of Applied Psychology, 90 (5), 893-904. Allan, S., & Gilbert, P. (2002). Anger and anger expression in relation to perceptions of social rank, entrapment and depressive symptoms. Personality and Individual Differences, 32, 551–565. Gross, J. (1998a). Antecedent- and response-focused emotion regulation: Divergent consequences for experience, expression, and physiology. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 74(1), 224-237.
Emotional Labour, Burnout, Job Satisfaction among Philippine Call Center Agents in the Alabang Area
Kryzka Dandeliza R. De Guzman
The present study examines the process of emotional labor as performed by customer service representative employees, particularly on burnout and job satisfaction. The use of surface-level emotionall labor or faking, expect depersonalization beyond the work demands. Perceiving the demand to display positive emotions and using deep-level emotional labor were associated with a heightened sense of personal accomplishment, suggesting positive benefits to this aspect of work. One hundred and fifty (150) participants (male = 83, female = 67) completed a 14 item Emotional Labour Scale (Brotheridge & Lee, 1998), 3 items Job Satisfaction subscale of Michigan Organizational Assessment Questionnaire (Cammann Fichman, Jenkins & Keisha, 1979) and a 9 item Emotional Exhaustion (Maslach & Jackson, 1986). Cronbach’s Alpha and correlation were conducted to test the variables. Results indicated that the use of surface acting contributed to a diminish sense of personal accomplishment, where as deep acting contributed to a greater sense of personal efficiency at work.
One impact of the rapidly advancing technological developments over the past decade has been the phenomenal worldwide growth of the call centre industry. Call centres have evolved into holistic ‘care’, ‘support’, or ‘access’ facilities providing sophisticated and seamlessly integrated multiple information systems. For simplicity, they will be referred in the Philippines as “call centres”. 25
A call center can be defined as a work environment in which the main business is mediated by computer and telephone-based technologies that enable the efficient distribution of incoming calls (for allocation of outgoing calls) to available staff, and permit customer – employee interaction to occur simultaneously with use of display screen equipment and the instant access to, and inputting of, information (Holman, 2003) This work environment is characterized by rapid technological change, and is subject to a number of factors that create particularly difficult job demands, making it one of the most stressful jobs to cope with (de Ruyter, et.al, 2001). Even so, there is evidence that people enjoy the job and derive a sense of job satisfaction from it (Holman & Fernie, 2000). Some related research has revealed that while the job may be stressful, there are mechanisms in the workplace which serve to reduce or counteract stress, such as having fun with other people and having a wider supportive social environment (Kinnie, et.al, 2000). The role of emotions at work has recently been the focus of much research (Ashkanasy et al, 2002). A great deal of this research such as those of Gosserand in 2003 and Grandey and associates in 2002 has focused on emotions in customer service work. Grosserand also mentioned in 2003 that customer service jobs represent a major proportion of jobs in the United States. It has been estimated that services account for three-fourths of the gross national product (Spencer, 1991) and represent 64.7% of job growth with poor service represents the main reason customers switch their business from one competitor to another (Ryan & Ployhart, 2003). Because of such growth in the service economy and increased competition among service providers, organizations are placing renewed emphasis on providing “service with a smile.” In response to this greater focus on customer service and the quality of interpersonal interactions, researchers have begun to study the phenomenon of emotional labor, or the management of feelings or emotions as part of the work role (Diefendorff & Gosserand, et.al, 2003) Few would argue that one of the most noticeable trends in the workplace over the last few decades has been the increased emphasis on service. Hochschild (1983) aptly put it, “when competition in price is out, competition in service is in”. In order to remain profitable in this highly competitive world, companies need to offer a pleasing customer service interaction in addition to a good product at a competitive price. As a result most jobs today have employees interacting with and monitoring their responses to customers, even in fields that were not originally intended to include a customer service component, such as engineering and auto repair. This management of emotional responses toward the customer has become a paid and evaluated part of the work role and has been given the label emotional labor (Hochschild, 1983). The concept of emotional labor was originally introduced by Hochschild in 1983, and both the definition and the model of antecedents and outcomes have been continuously developed throughout the years (Grandey, 1999). The definition of emotional labor has evolved from a simple dichotomization of jobs into those requiring or not requiring regulation for the purpose of an organization (Grandey, 1999). Thus, emotional labor occurring when employee must purposefully alter his or her emotions in order to meet an organizational demand. This indicates that in order for emotional labor to be performed the employee must be experiencing, or about to experience, an emotional response that is not congruent with the organizational demand.
STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM Emotional labor, the regulation of feelings and expressions at work (Grandey, 2000; Hochschild, 1983), is a critical aspect of many jobs that require employees to interact with customers, coworkers, and the public. Since Hochschild’s (1983) seminal work on the management of human feelings and emotions on the workplace, many researchers have further elaborated on this view and provided theoretical and empirical support showing that emotional labor is a central part of everyday work life for many employees. With the overall expansion of the service economy and increased competition among service providers, managing emotions in the workplace will continue to become increasingly important (Morris & Feldman, 1996). Interpersonal interactions, such as the emotions employees express to others, can affect important organizational outcomes. For example, Pugh (2001) showed that employees’ display of positive emotion were directly related to customers’ evaluations of service quality. The expression of emotions has also been linked to customer mood (Luong, 2005), customer willingness to return and pass positive comments to friends about the organization (Tsai, 2001; Tsai &Huang, 2002), and customer overall satisfaction with the organization (Matilla & Enz, 2002) Correspondingly, Morris and Feldman (1986) argued that the expression of emotion has become “a marketplace commodity” and an important part of the customer service experience. Therefore, many organizations prescribe how emotions should be presented to other through the use of emotional display rules (Diefendorff & Richard, 2003). Emotional display rules are behavioural standards that indicate which emotions are appropriate and how those emotions should be expressed (Ekman, 1973). Thus, emotional display rules clarify with emotions are appropriate in a given job situation and serve as important referent standards that help employees evaluate their own emotions and make a adjustments consistent with the organization’s requirements (Diefendorff & Grosserand, 2003). These rules can either be explicitly stated role expectations, or unwritten and implicit rules that can be taught in one’s occupational education, or learned in one’s professional experience or during the organizational socialization process (Diefendorff & Richard, 2003). Whether explicit or implicit, employees and supervisors perceive them to be required, in role aspects of their jobs (Diefendorff, Richards, & Croyle, 2006). Some jobs may require the display of negative or neutral emotions. However, the display rules appropriate for most jobs, and thus focus of this study, require employees to show display of positive emotions (such as happiness or cheerfulness) and to hide displays of negative emotions (such as anger or contempt). Display rule perceptions are important antecedents to emotional labor, which Grandey (2000) argued can be performed with two types of acting. The first type of acting that Grandey (2000) identified is surface acting, which involves suppressing one’s felt emotions and faking the desired emotions. Because surface acting entails modifying emotional display without changing internal feelings it is also known as “faking in bad faith” (Grandey, 2000). On the other hand, deep acting involves actually changing one’s feelings in order to elicit the appropriate emotional display. Deep acting is also known as “faking in good faith” because it enatails changes in internal emotional states and the intent to seem authentic (Grandey, 2000). Researchers have empirically shown that this distinction may help explain the differential outcomes associated with emotional labor in previous research. Specifically, surface acting has been
shown to be related to negative outcomes, such as in authenticity, lower ratings of affective delivery, depersonalization, emotional exhaustion, dissatisfaction and burnout (Brotherridge & Grandey, 2002). Conversely, deep acting is more likely to lead to positive outcomes, such as authenticity, personal accomplishment, lower likelihood of revealing negative emotions, job satisfaction and performance (Brotheridge & Grandey, 2002). The literature on emotional labor and emotional display rules have garnered increasing attention in recent years (Bono, Vey, 20050. However, it is still in relatively new literature with room for several extensions of the current research to increase our understanding of the emotional labor process. Emotional labour is a factor affecting call center representatives. Rose and Wright (2005) state that call centers are generally associated with low levels of satisfaction due to the fairly low skilled nature of their work. Other facvtors that are often associated with call centers are; High stress level, and emotional burnout (Rose, Wright, 2005). Specifically, building on the work of Grandey (2000) and other researchers, this paper examined the effects of display rule perceptions to express positive and suppress negative emotions on emotional labor. (i.e surface and deep acting) and emotional exhaustion. In addition, this paper also examined in which how emotional labour effects the performance of call center service representatives. This study was framed to better understanding the scope of two main process of emotional labor that Hochschild (1983) suggested (deep acting and surface acting) that represent how employees manage emotions to meet work role demands in relation to burnout and job satisfaction. Review of Literature Emotions in the workplace represent a relatively new focus in organizational research (Lord et.al., 2002). For a long time, organizational researchers ignored the topic of emotions in the workplace, perhaps because emotions were viewed as the antithesis of the orderliness and rationality of organizations. Emotions were thought of as irrational, unstable, and biased influences on workplace decision making; they were therefore unwanted in business persons who are expected to be objective and stable (Muchinsky et.al, 2000). Recently, however, researchers have begun to realize that emotions should not be excluded from theories of organizational phenomena and that, if acknowledged, they can be used in ways that contribute beneficially to organizations (Arvey et al., 1998). As a result, researchers found new merit in the study of emotions in organizations. For example, research on job satisfaction has adopted a more affective focus. Dispositional affect has been found to be an important predictor of a person’s job satisfaction over time and across jobs (Staw et.al., 1986). Additionally, new interest in the effects of mood on work behaviour has been influential in turning attention to the more emotional side of workplace experiences. It is also pointed out that the popularity of emotional intelligence as a catalyst for new research in workplace emotions (Fisher & Ashkanasy, 2000). Although initial interest in emotional intelligence at work began in the popular press (Goleman, 1995), the idea of emotional intelligence as an individual difference variable that influences workplace behaviour has gained support in recent scholarly research (Mayer et.al., 2003; 2004). Emotional Labour
In 1983, a different line of research on emotions in the workplace originated in Hochschild’s book, The Managed Heart. In it, Hochschild introduced the idea that individuals often get paid for controlling their own emotions, emotional expressions, and the emotions of others. She named this phenomenon emotional labour and defined it as the regulation of emotions as part of the work role. Since her early work, several models of emotional labour have emerged from different authors from Ashforth & Humphrey in 1993 to Diefendorff & Gosserand in 2003. According to all of these theories, employees regulate their emotions and/or emotional expressions in response to display rules that specify which emotions are appropriate in work situations and how those emotions should be expressed to others (Grandey, 2000). Emotional labour is the expression of organizationally desired emotions by service agents during service encounters (Ashforth & Humphrey, 1993). Moreover Grandey (2000) has defined emotional labour as “the process of regulating both feelings and expressions for organizational goals”. On the other hand, Hochschild (1983) has defined emotional dissonance as the separation of felt emotion from emotion expressed to meet external expectations, and contends that it is harmful to the physical and psychological well being of employees. Zapf also mentioned in 2002 that when an employee is required to express organizationally desired emotions that contradict genuinely felt emotions, emotional dissonance may be experienced. This is considered a form of individual-role conflict, such that an individual’s response conflicts with role expectations regarding the display of emotions. Rafaeli and Sutton (1987) suggest that displayed emotions can serve as control moves which, as defined by Goffman (1969) are an individual’s strategic manipulation of emotional expressions designed to influence the behaviour of others. Sutton and Rafaeli (1988) proposed that displayed emotions will not only be seen as characteristic of the individual, but will be ascribed to the organization as well. Researchers have attempted to identify the strategies by which 2 employees regulate their emotions and emotional displays in order to conform to such display rules (Diefendorff et.al., 2005). Many emotional labour researchers such as Grandey in 2000 and Hochschild in 1983 suggested that employees engage in two different types of strategies for following display rules, the surface acting (SA) and the deep acting (DA). SA involves simply “faking” the required emotional displays (e.g., pasting on a smile when one is actually feeling anger), whereas DA involves attempts to actually feel the required emotion (e.g., thinking about a situation in a way that causes one to actually experience the required emotion). However, Hochschild (1983) suggests that “faking” an emotion (through SA) may lead to negative outcomes such as increased burnout and decreased job satisfaction, whereas displaying genuine emotions, through deep acting, has been associated with a greater sense of personal accomplishment (Grandey, 2003). Additionally, research has shown that customers can distinguish faked smiles from authentic smiles and that these perceptions influence customer satisfaction (Grande et.al, 2003). Deep Acting. Engaging in deep acting through reappraisal or self-talk has been called a “good faith” type of emotional labour because it shows the employees has goodwill toward the organization (Rafaeli & Sutton, 1987). However, the effect of this regulatory process on the individual is uncertain. The emotion regulation work in one lab study suggested that encouraging participants to interpret
verbal harassment in a more detached, nonthreatening way decreased physiological arousal to that stimulus (Stemmler, 1997). This “cognitive change” modified participants’ actual emotional arousal state in response to this negative situation. But emotion is a complex construct. Gross (1998) found mixed support for the effect of deep acting on arousal in another study. Using self-reports of emotion, multiply physiological measures such as finger temperature and heart rate, and rater’s observations of emotion expressions, he measured the responses of participants to a video designed to elicit disgust. Individuals who were told to engage in reappraisal reported lower levels of self-reported emotion and lower observable signs of emotions than those who were not told to reappraise the situation. These two taken together would suggest an actual change in feelings had occurred, or that deep acting was successful. Interestingly, however, the reappraisal group did not have lower physiological signs of emotion than the other group. Although deep acting in this form may regulate observable signs of emotions and even the individual’s perception of his or her own emotions, it is unclear whether deep acting actually lowers the physiological arousal. Surface Acting. Surface acting or antecedent-focused emotion regulation, may be desirable to organizations so that customers or clients always see the expressions that are mandated, even when the employee may feel differently. However, Hochschild (1983) suggested that this job demand results in stressful experiences for the employee. This may be because individuals generally do not like to feel “fake”, or in the long-term, because suppressing true emotions and expressing false emotions requires effort that results in stress outcomes. For example, in two recent studies participants were asked to suppress the emotional expression of either sadness or disgust (Gross, 1998a; Gross & Levenson, 1997). The suppression condition resulted in decreased observable signs of emotion, such that ratings of participants’ facial and bodily responses to emotion-inducing stimuli were lower than a nonsuppression condition. In other words, people are capable of suppressing their emotions so that others cannot see how they truly feel. However, the levels of the self-reported experience of emotion in these two studies, and the physiological signs of emotional activation, did not decrease. Thus, the participants were aware that they were “faking”, and they still had a state of emotional arousal. According to recent emotion theory and recent emotion regulation lab studies, both surface and deep acting techniques may result in the required emotional expression, but the physiological emotional response may still be active. Such studies may help explain how emotional labour can relate functionally to performance measures but can be dysfunctional for the individual’s health and stress. Personal Outcomes of Surface Acting There is a great deal of evidence that surface acting has detrimental consequences for the emotional labourer. In a survey study of university employees, Pugliesi (1999) investigated the relationship between “self-focused” emotional labor, and several outcome variables. “Self-focused” emotional labor was measured by three items that asked respondents to rate their agreement with statements related to being unable to express true feelings and having to behave in an artificially friendly manner, ideas that closely mimic surface acting. Grandey (1999) also provides evidence that the surface acting method of emotional labor was negatively related to job satisfaction and positively related to turnover intentions even after controlling for the organizational demands of the job. The result also showed that performing surface acting was positively related to emotional estrangement, or a sensation of feeling alienation from one’s true emotions. Erickson and Ritter (2001) replicated this positive relationship between the feelings of
emotional in authenticity and a measure of surface acting in a sample of employees from a broader array of occupations. Their measure of emotional labour looked specifically at how often “agitation emotions,” defined as anger, irritation or nervousness, had to be hidden or covered up. This could be considered as a component of surface acting. Burnout has been the most commonly studied personal outcome variable in relation to the surface acting method of emotional labor. The Maslach Burnout inventory (Maslach, Jackson, & Lieter, 1996) defined burnout in terms of three components. The first is emotional exhaustion, or “being emotionally overextended and exhausted by one’s work”. The second component of burnout is depersonalization, defined as “an unfeeling and impersonal response toward recipients of one’s service care, treatment, or instruction”. The final component of burnout is reduced personal accomplishment, defined as a reduction in the “feelings of competence and successful achievement in one’s work with people”. Grandey (1999) investigated the relationship between emotional labour and all three components of burnout. She found support for the idea that suface acting has negative personal consequences; it was positively related to all three components of burnout in a sample of administrative assistants. Grandey’s (1999) findings for all three components were replicated in a sample of Canadian employees from a wide variety of jobs (Brotheridge & Grandey, 2002). In a similar sample, Brotheridge and Lee (2002) found that surface acting was positively related to all three components of burnout, but feelings of authenticity mediated the relationships between surface acting and emotional exhaustion. Erickson and Ritter (2001) only measured the emotional exhaustion component of burnout, and also found a positive relationship between surface acting and emotional exhaustion in a broad range of occupations. To further support this common finding, Grandey (2003) also corroborated the finding that the more often surface acting is performed, the greater the emotional exhausted reported. Personal Outcomes of Deep Acting Surface acting has clearly been shown to have a wide variety of deleterious effects on the performer. Deep acting, on the other hand, has not shown to be as detrimental to the individual performing it, and in fact is related to many positive outcomes. Grandey (1999) found that unlike surface acting, deep acting was unrelated to the sense of personal accomplishment component of burnout. Further, although deep acting was positively related to the emotional exhaustion and depersonalization components of burnout, the coefficients were smaller than the relationships with surface acting. Interestingly, when those relationships were tested using hierarchical regression, only the surface acting component of emotional labor remained a significant predictor of burnout; deep acting was not a significant predictor of any of the components of burnout. A similar pattern was found for the negative relationship between job satisfaction and deep acting, as well as the positive relationship between deep acting and both turnover intentions and emotional estrangement. Again, the correlations between these variables were smaller for deep acting than they were for surface acting, and the relationships with deep acting were not significant when surface acting was controlled for in hierarchical regression. Grandey in a 2003 study also found that unlike surface acting, deep acting did not have a significant relationship with emotional exhaustion. Brotheridge and Grandey (2002) not only found no significant relationships between deep acting and the negative outcomes of emotional exhaustion or
depersonalization, but also demonstrated that deep acting was related positively to an increased sense of personal accomplishment. Brotheridge and Lee (2002) also replicated the positive relationship between deep acting and increased sense of personal accomplishment. In addition they found that deep acting was positively related to a sense of authenticity and negatively related to depersonalization, opposite from the effects of surface acting. Organizational Outcomes of Deep and Surface Acting There is also a difference between the organizational outcomes of emotional labor, depending on which type of emotional labor is used. Grandey (1999) showed that even after controlling for organizational variables, surface acting was negatively related to an co-worker rated customer service measure, whereas deep acting was positively related to that measure. Grandey (2003) replicated the finding that the more surface acting used by an employee, the lower a peer rated the affective delivery of that employee, which was a measure of the emotional display toward the customer. She also corroborated the higher frequency of deep acting was associated was higher ratings of affective delivery. Grandey (2003) further investigated the impact of surface acting, or faking emotions, on customer satisfaction in two studies; one lab controlled and one in a restaurant setting. They found that although surface acting can result in a satisfactory encounter, the surface acting must be perceived as genuine in order to deliver positive results. Apparently the result of emotional labor is more effective when deep acting is performed, and may actually backfire under surface acting. Self-reported job performance has also been shown to be positively related to deep acting but unrelated to surface acting in a diary study of call center employees (Totterdell & Holman, 2003) hinting that even employees themselves are aware that surface acting is less effective than deep acting. The Relationship between Deep and Surface Acting It is clear that although both deep and surface acting can be used to achieve the goal of emotional regulation for the purpose of achieving organizational outcomes, deep acting is less detrimental to the individual and possibly to the organization than surface acting. The two types of emotional labor are not entirely independent, however Brotheridge and Lee (2002) hypothesized that the relationship between surface and deep acting was a result of an attempt to conserve resources. They suggested that surface acting required more resources than deep acting, and as such people engaging in emotional regulation would actually try to use deep acting to “feel the emotion” in order to save resources. When the difficulty of emotional regulation behaviours is considered, this becomes clearer. The more difficult an individual finds one of the methods to be, the more resources that particular method will likely require for that person to engage in that method. When faced with the need for emotional regulation, if resources are not available, the individual would likely avoid the strategy that is perceived as a difficult and chose the strategy that is easiest. Alternatively, if both strategies are perceived as difficult, then that individual may be unable to perform any emotional labor and would fail to alter the emotional display as mandated by the organization. Thus, when the difficulty of
performing emotional labor is considered, a negative relationship between the difficulty and the frequency of one type of emotional labor would be expected as well as positive relationship between the difficulty of one method, and the frequency of the other. Grandey’s model of emotional labor in 2000 suggested that Hochschild’s concepts of surface acting and deep acting in 1983 might be analogous to emotion regulation strategies described by Gross (1998) in his model of emotion regulation. Gross (1998) stated that emotion regulation strategies can occur at two main points in the emotion generation process. Specifically, he proposed that it is possible to regulate emotions either by (1) antecedent- focused regulation or altering the stimulus, or the perception of the stimulus that includes situation modification, attentional deployment, and cognitive change, or (2) by response-focused regulation or stimulus that includes response modulation. During situation selection, an individual may choose to approach or avoid certain stimuli (people, places, or objects) in order to regulate emotions. For example, individuals may choose to avoid certain people who tell offensive jokes that always upset them, or they may choose to be around people who make them feel good (Gross, 1998). Situation modification refers to efforts on the part of the individual to directly change a situation so that its emotional impact is different. For example, one may ask a neighbour to turn down his loud music before getting upset or turn a meeting into a phone conference upon getting a flat tire (Gross, 1998). Intentional deployment on the other hand refers to strategies such as distraction, concentration, and rumination. Distraction focuses attention on non-emotional aspects of the situation or turns attention away from the situation altogether. Concentration refers to turning one’s attention to stimuli other than the one eliciting emotion, in order to absorb cognitive resources. Rumination refers to actually concentrating on current feelings (i.e., not trying to change these feelings), such as when a person focuses on his/her negative emotions or concentrates on future threats (Gross, 1998). Cognitive change is Gross’s final antecedent-focused strategy of emotion regulation. In cognitive change, the meaning of the situation is evaluated in a way so as to prevent an emotional response. For example, individuals may use downward social comparison to compare their situations to those of others who may be even less fortunate. Another example of a cognitive change strategy is cognitive reframing, where one frames a failure to obtain one goal in terms of a success (or at least a non-event) with respect to another goal. Closely related to this is cognitive reappraisal, where the individual thinks about the situation in a different way in order to change its emotional impact (Gross, 1998). If none of these antecedent-focused regulation processes occur (or none succeed), an individual may still attempt to alter the emotional output with response focused regulation, or response modulation. Response modulation includes anything that alters the physiological, experiential, or behavioural response (e.g., drugs, exercise, cigarettes, food, or simply “faking” other emotions) (Gross, 1998). According to Grandey (2000), Gross’s first two types of antecedent-focused emotion regulation, situation selection and situation modification, may be of limited utility in a work setting. Apart from employees choosing their jobs, there is little chance to pick and choose between situations
that may or may not produce the desired emotions. For example, an employee choosing to avoid a certain customer who upsets him or her may be successful in avoiding the undesired emotion; however, leaving the work floor may result in other negative consequences, such as poor customer service when customers are left unattended (Grandey, 2000). Additionally, modifying a situation (or problem solving) may be difficult in situations where the employee is expected to operate under the assumption that “the customer is always right” (Grandey & Brauburger, 2002). Attentional deployment might also be a poor strategy for an employee to use because focusing on something else would take cognitive resources away from the job which may result in poor job performance As a result of the limited utility of situation selection, situation modification, and attentional deployment, Grandey (2000) states that Gross’s final two forms of affect regulation, cognitive change and response modulation, are most relevant for use in work situations. Cognitive change, especially reappraisal, has long been advocated as an effective strategy against stress (Lazarus et.al, 1966). Grandey (2000) classifies this type of strategy as a form of “deep acting” which is hypothesized to have more positive long-term effects than surface acting because it removes the dissonance between what is expressed and what is actually felt. In other words, because individuals are actually changing their thoughts and feelings into what is desired, there is no dissonance between what they feel and what they are expressing. In addition, their emotional displays should be more authentic. Response modulation, on the other hand, may be considered “surface acting”. For example, customer service employees may smile even though they are depressed, or they may try to appear polite even though they are very angry with certain customers. Response modulation, therefore, does not reduce the dissonance between what the employee feels and expresses. Further, the emotional displays are not as authentic. Morris and Feldman (1996) proposed that emotional labor is comprised of four dimensions: (1) Attentiveness to display rules; (2) frequency of emotional display; (3) variety of emotions to be expressed; and (4) emotional dissonance. Display rules are generally a function of societal, occupational, and organizational norms (Rafaeli & Sutton, 1989). The more attentiveness to display rules that are required, the more psychological energy and physical effort the service job will demand from employees. Within this dimension are two subdimensions, namely duration and intensity. The longer the emotional displays the more likely they will become less scripted; consequently, longer emotional displays require greater attention and emotional stamina (Hochschild, 1983). Cordes and Dougherty (1993) have shown that the longer the interaction, the more burnout the employee is likely to suffer. Conversely, research on convenience store clerks (Rafaeli, 1989) suggested that short interactions with customers involved highly scripted interaction formats, such as a simple thank you and maybe a smile. This implies that short interactions require less emotional effort. Typically, surface acting will not produce intense emotions, so deep acting is required because the employee must actively call to mind thoughts, images and memories that will aid in expressing the required emotion. Therefore, work roles requiring display of intense emotions entail more deep acting and thus greater effort on the part of the role occupants (Morris & Feldman, 1996). Hochschild integrates previous models of emotional labour in 1983 to provide a comprehensive theoretical model. This model encompasses situational cues, the individual and organizational factors that affect the emotion regulation process and the long-term consequences of emotional labour. She proposes that the emotional labour processes of surface acting and deep acting correspond to the description of emotional labour as emotional regulation, and can serve as a means to
operationalize emotional labour. Grandey (2000) provides three reasons for the operationalization of emotional labour as surface and deep acting. First, surface and deep acting can have both positive and negative outcomes, therefore researchers can explain negative outcomes such as burnout, as well as positive outcomes such as customer service and increased personal accomplishment. Next, if these two processes have differential outcomes, then organizational training and stress management programs can be modified accordingly. Lastly, conceptualizing emotional labor as surface and deep acting links this model of emotional labor to an established theoretical model of emotion regulation, which facilitates expansion of this research area. Grandey (2000) utilizes emotion regulation theory as a framework to guide emotional labour research. Emotion regulation involves the processes by which individuals influence which emotions they have, when they have them and how they experience and express these emotions (Gross, 1998). Gross’s model in 1998 posits that emotion regulation is comprised of two processes, where the first process is Antecedent-focused, in which an individual regulates the situation or appraisal that precedes emotion; this is analogous to deep acting. The second process, response-focused involves modification of the observable signs of emotion in a manner consistent with surface acting (Grandey, 2000). The method that employees choose to address emotional dissonance can have negative effects, for instance, surface acting may lead to feelings of misalignment and inauthenticity that can decrease an employee’s sense of well-being (Sheldon, et.al, 1997). Conversely, regulation through deep acting in a “good faith” type of emotional labor may result in a sense of accomplishment depending on the employee’s level of identification with the organization (Ashforth & Humphrey, 1993). Emotion research has shown that the inhibition of negative emotions over time can be associated with a variety of physical illnesses, such as high blood pressure and cancer (Gross, 1989; Smith, 1992). Therefore, while deep acting and surface acting enable an employee to successfully achieve organizational goals, they may also contribute to detrimental effects to that employee’s health and psychological well-being. However, it must be noted that the expression of positive emotions may cause physiological changes that result in increased well-being for employees, so positive display rules may lead to positive emotions in employees (Zajonc, 1985). Grandey’s model in 2000 proposes two major situational antecedents for emotional labour, customer interaction expectations, and emotional events. Customer interaction expectations can be subsumed under the frequency and duration of interactions, the variety of emotional expressions required, and display rules of the organization. Emotional events influence the amount of emotional labour that an employee must perform, because if an event results in an emotional response that is contrary to the organizationally prescribed emotion then that employee has to engage in emotional labour to perform effectively Grandey (2000). Burnout will occur if an employee is emotionally invested in interactions with customers and has little recourse to recuperate from the drain on emotional resources (Jackson et.al, 1986). Job satisfaction provides an estimation of how an employee feels about his or her job. In general, Grandey (2000) has shown that customer service employees with a high level of emotion regulation tend to be less satisfied with their jobs, but there has been some research that may contradict this finding. For instance, Adelmann (1995) found that wait staff, who have high levels of emotion regulation, and expressed genuine emotions at work were more satisfied than those who displayed fake emotions. It is possible that some of these emotions were produced through deep acting, and hence a product of emotional labour. However, this is one of the few studies that have found a positive relationship between emotional labour and job satisfaction. Typically, Abraham (1998) shows that there is a
negative relationship between emotional labour and job satisfaction for employees who engage in surface acting and consequently experience emotional dissonance. Perhaps it is the manner in which employees engage in emotional labour (deep acting versus surface acting) that influences their level of job satisfaction. Customer service performance is perhaps the most desired outcome of emotional labour. Emotion management, when it serves to induce the appropriate feelings in customers should result in good customer service performance (Ashforth & Humphrey, 1993). Typically, positive emotional expressions lead to better customer service performance. However, insincere emotional expressions, if perceived as such by the customer, will negatively impact customer service (Rafaeli & Sutton, 1987). Employee withdrawal from customer interaction is one of the emotional labour outcomes least desired by organizations, because an employee who leaves a service encounter to cope with their emotions may negatively impact that customer’s impression of the organization (Parasuraman et.al, 1985). The level of emotion management required may ultimately cause an employee to leave the organization, either through absence or turnover, due to poor person-job fit. Grandey’s (2000) model also presents a number of personal and organizational factors that relate to emotional labour. She suggests five individual difference and personality variables that should be examined in relation to emotion management; gender, emotional expressivity, emotional intelligence, self-monitoring, and affectivity. Burnout Burnout is a specific stress-related reaction, and it is considered a key component of burnout (Maslach, 1982). Emotional exhaustion is the state of depleted energy caused by excessive emotional demands made on people interacting with customers or clients (Saxton et.al, 1991), and involves feelings of being emotionally overextended and exhausted by one’s work (Maslach et.al, 1996). Research by Wharton (1993) has shown that although jobs requiring emotional labour do not place employees at greater risk of emotional exhaustion than other jobs, all else being equal, emotional labour does result in negative consequences under some circumstances. In addition, Wharton (1993) also mentioned that emotional labour leads to increased emotional exhaustion among employees with low job autonomy, longer job tenure, and who work longer hours. Specifically, employees with low job autonomy are constrained by organizational display rules with little latitude to deviate from these rules. In the case where their feelings do not match the display rules they may engage in surface acting in order to display the appropriate emotions. Research by Kruml and Geddes (2000) supports this notion because they found that employees who engage in surface acting were more emotionally exhausted than those who adhered to display rules by deep acting. Kruml and Geddes (2000) mentioned that the duration of emotional labour, whether in job tenure or hours worked, requires either emotional dissonance (surface acting) or emotional effort (deep acting) both of which may lead to emotional exhaustion. Rafaeli and Sutton (1987) consider emotional dissonance to be a form of role conflict, because it involves a clash between the needs and principles of the employee and the requirements of others within the same role (Kahn, 1964). Research suggests that a key antecedent of emotional exhaustion is role conflict (Jackson et al., 1986), consequently, having to engage in emotional labor that results in emotional dissonance may lead to higher levels of emotional exhaustion.
Although some degree of convergences exists regarding the definition of burnout, emotional labour has been conceptualized in two main ways. First, job-focused emotional labour denotes the level of emotional demand in an occupation. This has been measured as occupational titles such as service jobs that are thought to represent “people work” (Hochschild, 1983; Wharton, 1996), work demands such as frequently of interactions with customers (Morris & Feldman, 1996), and job expectations to express certain emotions (Schaubroeeck & Jones, et.al 2000). Second, employeefocused emotional labour denotes employee process of experience of managing emotions and expressions to meet work demands. This has been measured as emotional dissonance – when expressions differ from feelings (Abraham, et.al 1998) and as emotion regulation process when one attempts to modify expressions to meet work demands. (Brotheridge, 1998; Grandey 2000; Hochschild, 1983) The occupational perspective views occupational grouping as being relevant in and of itself, such that workers employed in the categories of “high emotional labour” jobs (Hochschild, 1983) and “high burnout” jobs (Cordes & Dougherty, 1993), reports significantly higher levels of employee stress than do other workers. This study examined how emotional demands differ for employees in people work. Employee-focused emotional labor: Surface acting. In surface acting, employees modify and control their emotional expressions. For example, employees may enhance or fake a smile when in a bad mood or interacting with a difficult customer. The in authenticity of this surface-level process, showing expressions discrepant from feelings, is related to stress outcomes (Brotheridge, et.al, 1997) due to the internal tension and the physiological effort of suppressing true feelings (Gross & Levenson, et. al, 1997). Hochschild (1983) argued that acting inauthentic over time may result in feeling detached not only from one’s true feelings but also from other people’s feelings, suggesting a relationship with the dimension of depersonalization. Feeling diminished personal accomplishment is also likely if the employee believes that the displays were not efficacious or were met with annoyance by customers (Brotheridge, et.al, 1999). Thus, surface acting is expected to relate to all three dimensions of burnout. Employee-focused emotional labor: Deep acting. Deep acting is the process of controlling internal thoughts and feelings to meet the mandated display rules. Emotions involve physiological arousal and cognitions, and deep acting works on modifying arousal or cognitions through a variety of techniques (Gross, et.al, 1998). Hochschild (1979, 1983) argued that doing “emotion work” was a way of decreasing a state of emotional dissonance and may also result in a feeling of accomplishment if the performance is effective. Thus, deep acting might not relate to emotional exhaustion because it minimizes the tension of dissonance. We expected deep acting to relate to lower depersonalization and more personal accomplishment because deep acting involves treating the customer as someone deserving of authentic expression, and the positive feedback from the customer may increase a sense of personal efficacy. Job Satisfaction Wharton (1993) posits that employees who find emotional labour jobs more satisfying were probably attracted to such jobs because they possess personal qualities especially suited to working with the public. Therefore, if organizations choose frontline service employees based on their interpersonal skills and individuals seek jobs compatible with their personality, the “fit” between job
demands and personal qualities may be high in these positions, thereby leading to increased job satisfaction (Diener et. al, 1984). Adelmann (1995) stated that the research on the relationship between emotional labour and job satisfaction has found both positive and negative relationships. These findings may be explained by the method of emotional labour undertaken, for instance, surface acting may lead to feelings of in authenticity and consequently job dissatisfaction. Conversely, if an employee engages in deep acting this may lead to feelings of personal accomplishment and by extension, job satisfaction (Kruml & Geddes, 2000). Self-monitoring. Self-monitoring refers to the extent to which people monitor, control and modify their expressive behavior to meet standards of social appropriateness (Snyder, 1974). Research has indicated that high self-monitors pay more attention to situational cues about which emotions are appropriate, and also are more skilled at presenting emotions (Riggio & Friedman, 1982). Therefore, employees who are high self-monitors should be more likely to comply with organizational display norms because they are more willing to monitor expressive behaviour. That is, high self-monitors may be more likely to engage in surface acting than deep acting, because they are proficient at monitoring and controlling their expressive behaviour. In addition, this inclination of high self-monitors to comply with organizational display norms may result in less dissatisfaction with the emotional labour part of their jobs due to their ability to regulate their expressive behaviour. In fact, they may be more satisfied with the emotional labour component of their job because it rewards them for behaviour in which they normally engage. Conversely, low self-monitors may be more prone to emotional exhaustion than other workers who perform emotional labour, because their expressive behaviour is guided more by their affective states rather than by desire to comply with social standards, therefore to obey display rules they may have to engage in more effortful deep acting (Wharton, 1993). Consequently, high selfmonitors should have to expend less emotional effort to display the organizationally prescribed emotions via surface acting. In fact, recent research has shown that high self-monitors engaged in more surface acting than low self-monitors (Brotheridge & Lee, 2002). Affectivity. Affective traits serve as predispositions to particular emotional responses (Weiss & Cropanzano, 1996). Positive affectivity indicates the extent to which a person feels enthusiastic and optimistic, whereas negative affectivity corresponds to pessimism and aversive mood states (Grandey, 2000). Morris and Feldman (1996) contend that positive and negative affectivity will influence emotional dissonance. That is, if the organizationally prescribed emotions conflict with an employee’s affectivity (positive or negative), then emotional dissonance will occur, therefore, individuals may want to ensure that their emotion work requirements are congruent with their affective states. Brotheridge and Lee (1998) posit that affectivity may correspond to both the range and intensity of emotions displayed, and the use of surface or deep acting. Individuals with high levels of affectivity may have greater trouble, concealing their feelings with surface acting and realigning their feelings through deep acting, than low-affect intense individuals (Brotheridge & Lee, 1998). Therefore, an individual who is high in positive affectivity may not fit well in a job that required the expression of negative emotions, such as a bill collector (Brotheridge & Lee, 1998). Job Autonomy. According to Hackman and Oldham (1975), autonomy describes the level of independence and discretion available to an employee in the completion of their jobs. Job autonomy indicates the extent to which a service employee can modify the display rules to fit their own personality and interpersonal styles (Morris & Feldman, 1996). Lack of autonomy about which emotions are displayed can be a source of stress for service employees. For instance, display rules that
required flight attendants express positive emotions to rude or threatening passengers must have been difficult to comply with (Hochschild, 1983). Rafaeli and Sutton (1989) suggest that individuals with more job autonomy regarding expressive behaviour will express emotions that match their affective states regardless of the organizational display rules. This may lead to higher job satisfaction for service workers who have the autonomy to show their true nasty feelings to obnoxious customers. Indeed, research has indicated that there is a positive relationship between autonomy and job satisfaction (Hackman & Oldham, 1975). In addition, Wharton (1993) demonstrated that even in jobs with a high level of emotional labour, autonomy serves to alleviate the negative effects of such emotional labour. Therefore, high levels of job autonomy should result in a reduction in emotional exhaustion due to surface acting. Supervisor and co-worker support. Schneider and Bowen (1985) suggest that supervisor and co-worker support should create a positive working environment, which by extension should minimize the need to engage in emotional labour when the display rules are positive. That is, if an employee is in a positive mood due to the environment, then less emotional effort is needed to display positive organizationally prescribed emotions. Social support is thought to enable individuals to cope better with job stressors and to increase their sense of personal control (Cohen & Wills, 1985). On the other hand, Beehr (1995) presents evidence of reverse buffering, that is, high levels of social support may contribute to a positive relationship between job stressors and individual strains. Therefore reverse buffering suggests that social support may not act to buffer the effects of job stressors on individuals. These contrary findings may have resulted from treating the different forms of social support as one construct. What may have been needed was the linkage of the appropriate type of social support to the appropriate stressors and correspondent strain. Research by Hochschild (1983) indicated that strong social support among flight attendants enabled them to vent frustrations about passengers without violating role requirements and display rules. In this instance, the emotional support provided by coworkers helped to lessen the strain associated with the stressor of an obnoxious passenger. Abraham (1998) suggests that support from supervisors and co-workers can be a moderator in the relationship between emotional labour and psychological well-being. She found that with low support there was a negative relationship between emotional dissonance and job satisfaction, however with high support there was a slight increase in job satisfaction when emotional dissonance was high. Thus, supervisor and co-worker support, acting as moderators, prevent emotional dissonance from reducing job satisfaction (Zapf, 2002). Further research is needed to examine the moderating effect of supervisor and co-worker support on the consequences of emotional labour. According to Johnson (2004), the Story behind service with a smile’s purpose was to investigate the relationship between the emotional labour process and the long-term consequences of emotional exhaustion, job satisfaction and affective well-being at work in all the organizations in Florida, USA. A number of interesting findings emerged from Johnson’s (2004) study, among the more notable findings is the role of autonomy as a moderator in relationships between emotional labor, and the three outcome variables emotional exhaustion, affective well-being, and job satisfaction. That is,
the more autonomy a service worker has, the less deleterious the effects of performing emotional labor. The significant relationship between autonomy and deep acting implies that when employees with high levels of autonomy are confronted with a situation that requires emotional labor they will be more likely to engage in deep acting in order to adhere to organizational display rules. The choice of deep acting over surface acting is beneficial to the employee because while both forms of emotional labor require effort, surface acting is more taxing because it entails the effortful suppression of emotions as well as the production of the appropriate emotion (Richards & Gross, 2000). Emotional labor on Johnson’s study displayed almost no relationship with emotional exhaustion, however the two mechanisms of emotional labor, surface acting and deep acting, displayed positive and negative relationships with emotional exhaustion. Johnson’s (2004) study on job satisfaction resulted as an exhibited almost non-existent relationships with surface acting and deep acting. These relations were in the proposed direction with surface acting negatively related, and deep acting positively related, however the non-significance of these relations may be explained by the complexity of the job satisfaction construct. Synthesis Customer satisfaction has been shown to impact the bottom line of organizations: for example, Athanossopoulos, Gounaris, and Stathakopoulos (2001) found that customer satisfaction was related to decisions to stay with a particular service provider, engagement in word – of – mouth recommendations of the provider, and intentions to stay with the provider in the future. In addition, Bolton and Lemon (1999) found that improving the effectiveness of customer and employees interactions has great practical im4ortance. Roseman, stated in 2001 that emotions arise out of a person’s evaluation of an event or situation. For example, in response to an angry or rude customer, two customer service employees may have completely different emotional responses, depending on their appraisals of that situation. If Employee A appraises the custmer’s behaviour as a personal attack that hinders his own goals, he will feel angry. On the other hand, if Employe B appraises the cutomers’ behaviour as merely the result of a bad day and does not evaluate the customer’s behaviour as affecting her won goals, she may experience neutral affect or even sympathy. Research found that call center employees were more likely to suffer from emotional exhaustion due to the following reasons; (1) When they believe that customer had become more abusive and demanding; (2) When it was felt that management was focusing on the number of calls rather than the quality of calls; (3) When there was undue pressure to wrap-up calls; (4) Limited opportunities for promotion; (5) repetitive nature of the job; (6) perceived lack of skills; and (7) an excessive workload were also significantly related to emotional exhaustion. Many researchers in various fields have studied emotional labour among this group, hoping to find patterns, relationships and practical applications. Two of them, Christina Maslach from the University of California at Berkeley and Susan Jacksons from New York University, described emotional labour as the experiences of stress, which approaches, or is above a person’s comfortable limits while depersonalization is the development of a cynical and negative attitude towards clients, sometimes to the point of dehumanization. On the other hand, decreased personal accomplishment is defined as a negative outlook on one’s performance at work (Maslach and Jackson, 1982).
Much are yet to be explored in the call center industry here in the Philippines. There have been only a few studies or research made for our local customer representatives – there is still a lot to learn and known about in the call center industry, the employees, the employee’s well being and their job satisfaction. To synthesize with other researchers gathered, this study will examine the same process of emotional labour but only as performed by the call center employees in the Philippines and to investigate some of the consequences of undergoing emotional labour such as burnout and job satisfaction. Using Grandey’s (2000) model as guide, the current study examined a subset of framework of emotional labour. It focuses on the mechanism of emotional labour that moderates the relationships between emotional labour and its potential consequences. This research seeks to understand the emotional labour process and how it can either have a positive or a negative relationship between deep/surface acting towards either job satisfaction or burnout. The current study seeks to understand how the result in negative consequences for Filipino employees is the first step in attempting to improve the sometimes negative aspects of work and reduce employees withdrawal, manifested in absenteeism and leaving the job.
Deep Acting – Modify feeling
Surface Acting – Modify Expression
One hundred fifty (150) call center representatives from different call center organizations around Alabang area participated in this study. Target participants are those who are required to engage in a significant amount of customer interaction as a part of their job, customer service representatives across the 4 major call centers in the Alabang area; (1) APAC Customer Service INC; (2) HSBC EDP, Alabang; (3) Convergys, Alabang; and (4) Etelecare Global Solution. The sample was 45% female, 55% male and had an overall mean age of 24, with a range from 20-30 years old. Average tenure for this sample was approximately 2 years and ranged from one month to about 5 years. The respondents follow the regular schedule of working 5 days a week for 8 hours a day. The average minutes each customer service representative communicated was approximately 5 minutes and ranged from 3 to 8 minutes. Customer service representatives are an ideal sample in emotional labour research because their jobs (1) require high levels of customer contact (in terms of frequency, intensity, and duration of interactions; Morris & Feldman, 1996); (2) require the employee to attempt to produce positive emotions in customers, and (3) are characterized by high levels of organizational control over emotions (e.g as indicated by signs posted in the workplace to “smile”). These three job requirements are all part of Hochschild’s (1983) definition of emotional labor. Research Instruments Three measuring instruments, namely the Emotional Labour scale by Brotheridge & Lee (1998), Emotional Exhaustion by Maslach & Jackson (1986) and Job Satisfaction subscale of Michigan Organizational Assessment Questionnaire by Camman Fichman, Jenkins & Kiesh (1979) were used in the present study. A demographic questionnaire was used to obtain personal details of the participants. Demographic Variables. Participants were asked to provide demographic information such as age, gender and tenure. No other data was collected that could have allowed for the identification of individual respondents. Emotional Labour scale (Brotheridge & Lee, 1998)(14 items). The duration of customer interaction is assessed with a single free response question, which asks respondents to identify the actual duration of an average customer interaction. The remaining dimensions will be measure with on a five-point Likert response scale (1 = Never, 5 = Always). Participants will be asked to answer items in response to the stem question, “On an average day at work, how often do you do each of the following when interacting with customers?” Higher scores on each of the subscales represent higher levels of the dimension being assessed. Brotheridge and Lee (2002) report good combined coefficient alpha for the role characteristics (frequency, intensity and variety) subscales (a = 0.71), as well as for the deep acting and surface acting subscales (a = 0.89, a =.86). A free response question was added that asked respondents to identify the average number of customers that they served per day. Emotional exhaustion (Maslach & Jackson, 1986) (9 items). These nine items comprise the emotional exhaustion subscale of the Maslach Burnout Inventory. The measure assesses how often respondents report feeling the symptoms of emotional exhaustion at work. A sample item is “I feel emotionally drained at work.” Higher scores on this measure suggest high levels of emotional
exhaustion. Brotheridge and Grandey (2002) report high internal consistency reliability for this subscale (a = 0.91). Job Satisfaction subscale of Michigan Organizational assessment Questionnaire (Cammann Fichman, Jenkins & Kiesh, 1979) (3 items). This measure consists of three items that assess overall job satisfaction. A six-point Likert response scale is used where one corresponds to strongly agree and six corresponds to strongly disagree. A higher score indicates overall satisfaction with the job. Grandey (2003) reports a high alpha of 0.93 for this subscale. Procedures Permission will be asked from the supervisors of all participants, or the Human resource department per call center organizations in the Alabang area. Surveys will be available at the organization, during their break time in a break room, where participants can complete and can return them anonymously to a box that will be provided to them to be retrieved at a predetermined time. Other participants were known to the researcher; meanwhile others were friends of friends or their colleagues at work. Participating agents were assured that the information obtained would be used for research purpose only. Participation in the study was voluntary and questionnaires were answered anonymously. Statistical Analysis Any measurement must be both reliable - measurement yields consistent, repeatable results, and valid - it measures what it is supposed to measure (Trochim, 1999). The first is an issue of reliability, the second of construct validity. Reliability can be estimated through inter- rater reliability, i.e. whether the two raters are consistent, through test-retest reliability, assessing the consistency of a measure from one time to another, and through internal consistency reliability, assessing the consistency of results across items within a test. The internal consistency of single-dimensional additive scales of the mentioned instruments, can be tested using Cronbach’s alpha, a coefficient assessing how well a set of items on the scale measures a single “underlying construct”(Trochim, 1999; Messick, 1995). The higher the score, the more reliable the generated scale is. The widely accepted social science cut-off is that alpha should be 0.70 or higher for a set of items to be considered a scale, because at α= 0.70, the standard error of measurement will be over half of a standard deviation (Messick, 1995; Nunnally, 1978). However, lower thresholds are sometimes used in the literature. For example, Tuckman (1999) states that alpha test reliability should be above 0.75 for achievement tests but only above 0.5 for attitude tests. Construct validity refers to the degree to which inferences can be made from the operationalizations in the study to the theoretical constructs on which they were based (Trochim, 1999). It is established by relating a presumed measure of the construct to some behavior or manifestation that it is hypothesized to underlie (Tuckman, 1999). Construct validity thus comprises the evidence and rationales supporting the trustworthiness of score interpretations in terms of explanatory concepts that account for both the test performance and score relationships with other variables (Messick, 1995). The Cronbach’s alpha and correlation will be used to co-relate variables of the study.
Results Scale scores were obtained for emotional labour, the subscales of deep acting and surface acting were calculated for the consequence of job satisfaction and burnout. The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between the emotional labour process and the long term consequences of burnout and job satisfaction. In essence, this study aims to test a subset of Grandey’s (2000) emotional regulation framework in an organizational context.
Figure 1. Out of the 150 participants, 55% are male and the remaining 45% are female. The number of customers each customer service representatives have on a typical day ranges from 20 to 65 (Figure 3). A typical interaction each customer service representatives have with a customer ranges from 3 minutes to 8 minutes. (43% out of the 150 participants takes about 4 minutes to interact with their clients.) Table 1 Descriptive Statistics and Cronbach’s Alpha for Study Variable Scale N Mean SD Alpha Burnout 150 31.41 8.865 0.895 Deep Acting 150 9.8 2.639 0.627 Surface Acting 150 9.27 3.211 0.803 Job Satisfaction 150 9.72 2.04 0.322 The means, standard deviations, as well as the Cronbach’s alphas for each scale variable are presented in Table 1. The majority of scales demonstrated good internal consistency reliability, where an alpha of 0.70 is the minimum considered acceptable (Nunnally & Bernstein, 1994). The two exception was deep acting whose alpha (a = 0.627) and job satisfaction whose alpha (a = 0.322) was just below the accepted level. Table 2 Customer Representative’s tenure
Gender Female No of Respondents 39 out of 67 or 58% 28 out of 67 or 42% 7 out of 83 or 8% 76 out of 83 or 92% Tenure 2 years & above 1 year & below 2 years & above 1 year & below
Table 2 shows that majority of the female customer representative with the longer tenure perform emotional labor more often than men. This suggests that women may be socialized to handle the interpersonal demands of emotion management in service work, and this ability may lead them to have a more positive experience than their male counterparts. Wharton (1993) stated that women who perform emotional labor are significantly more satisfied than men who perform the same type of job. Perhaps this socialization may lead females to engage in deep acting to adhere to positive display rule, which should result in less emotional dissonance that makes them work in the industry longer. Findings concerning the masculine stereotype by Spence & Heinreich (1980) states that when people are independent, do not give up easily and are confident are given a task to perform, they take those on with dedication. When a task at hand is to display an appropriate positive emotional response, they do not fake it, they do it full force. This would lead to the prediction that they don’t use surface 46
acting as often, which would be the “easy way out”, but they do use deep acting more often and actually feel what they are suppose to display. Thus pattern was supported by the data. Also, individuals who don’t give up and are confident, do not report finding deep acting as challenging or difficult to perform as someone who does not identify with these characteristics as strongly, explaining the negative relationship between identification with the masculine gender stereotype and the difficulty of performing deep acting. Table 3 Intercorrelations Between Study Variable
Deep Acting Description .935 N149149150150Job SatisfactionPearson Correlation-.074-.007.0071 Sig. (2tailed).368.930.935 N149149150150** Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (2-tailed).-.065.124 Sig. (2tailed).627.448.431.130 N149149150150Deep ActingPearson Correlation1.344(**)-.145-.074 Sig. (2tailed) .000.078.368 N150150149149Surface ActingPearson Correlation.344(**)1.022-.007 Sig. (2tailed).000 .786.930 N150150149149BurnoutPearson Correlation-.145.0221.007 Sig. (2-tailed)Emotional Surface Acting Burnout Job Satisfaction
Labour Emotional labour displays almost no relationship with emotional exhaustion, however the two mechanism of emotional labour, surface acting and deep acting, display positive and negative relationships with burnout. This is an important finding that supports Wharton’s (1993) contention that it is not emotional labour itself that results in burnout, but other facets of the job, or in the case, how the emotional labour is performed. The positive relation between surface acting and burnout suggests that simply by “faking it” is detrimental to the employee. Out of the 150 participants, 61 (41%) said that they often or always resist to express their true feelings compare to the 31 (21%) who said that they never or rarely express their true feelings, 58 (39%) said that they often or always pretend to have emotions that they do not really have compare to the 52 (35%) who said that they never or rarely pretend to have emotions that they do not really have, there are 48 (32%) said that they sometimes do hide their true feelings about the situation. Through this, 65 (43%) said that they feel frustrated and emotionally
drained at work once a week or a few times a week. On the other hand, the negative relation between deep acting and burnout indicates that the employee faced with a conflict between a felt emotion and the emotion mandated by the organization would be a better served to attempt to actually feel the required emotion, or less burnout is likely with this method. Job satisfaction showed (Table 3) almost non-existent relationship with surface acting and deep acting. Surface acting is negatively related and deep acting negatively related to job satisfaction, this states that there is no significant difference between job satisfaction and whenever people engaged either on deep acting or surface acting. Hence, this supports Aldelmann’s research in 1995 on the relationship between emotional labour and job satisfaction, and found both positive and negative relationships. These findings may be explained by the method of emotional labour undertaken, for instance, surface acting may lead to feelings of in authenticity and consequently job dissatisfaction. All in all, 65 (43%) out of the 150 participants said that they disagree to be satisfied with their job compare to the 49 (33%) who said that they agree to be satisfied with their job. Conversely, if an employee engages in deep acting this may lead to feelings of personal accomplishment and by extension, job satisfaction (Kruml & Greedes, 2000). Surface acting as determined by Grandey (2000) can be seen as a way of detaching from other while at work. To support this statement, 75 (50%) out of the 150 participants stated that they often or always display many different kinds of emotions compare to the 30 (20%) who states that they never or rarely display many different kinds of emotions, the remaining 45 (30%) stated that they do it sometimes. In addition, 69 (46%) of the participants often or always display many different emotions when interacting with
others, 40 (27%) stated that they never or rarely display many different emotions when interacting with others. Hence, the more employees reported faking their emotional expressions at work, the more they also reported distancing themselves from customers and treating them as objects. Hochshild (1983) proposed that surface acting may create guilt and dissatisfaction with work efforts and that deep acting may create a sense of satisfaction in the quality of provided services. As examined, surface acting contributed to a diminished sense of personal accomplishment, where as deep acting contributed to a greater sense of personal efficiency at work. These relationships with personal accomplishment existed beyond the other variables. In addition, frequency of interactions to show positive emotions both were related to a sense of personal accomplishment opposing burnout and emotional labour arguments that high customer contact is essentially stressful. However, the results also indicate that if employees were faking their emotions, then the sense of personal accomplishment was diminished. Furthermore, the conditions under which employees experience a sense of accomplishment and other positive outcomes with customers should be investigate. Conclusion The directions of relationships proposed here are theory based (Grandey, 2000; Hochschild, 1983; Morris & Feldman, 1996), but studies to test the casual direction are exclusively needed. Thinking and feeling are indispensable part of human actions (Muchinsky, 2000). As feelings are at the core of human emotions, emotion plays a vital role in organizations. In this era if intense job stress, the capacity to cope with emotions is related to interpersonal relations. Overall, this study provides a
valuable contribution to the literature on emotions in the workplace, as in particular it serves to clarify how the process of emotional labor affects the service employee. Since a large number of people work for half their life, it is important to consider ways to improving their satisfaction. From the research one can conclude that it is important to keep job satisfaction high so as to reduce turnover levels in call centers. Surface acting or faking emotional expressions at work, was related to feeling exhausted and detached, whereas deeper emotion work was related positively to personal accomplishment. Hochschild (1983) recognized deep acting as having potential benefits for the employees’ feelings as a commodity. However, theory and research on mood regulation has suggested training employees to engage in deep emotional labor techniques (Grandey & Braubuger, 1999). If, indeed “jobs are not as easily molded as are people (Loscoco & Roschelle, 1991)”, then training may be an effective means for employees to adjust to their work situations. This suggests some intriguing and practically useful future research. In general, several propositions could be made based on the emotion regulation theory and the previous emotional labor research. Those who interact with customers or clients for extended periods and who experience emotional events in those situations are more likely to emotionally adjust. Emotional labor may result in good organizational performance, but may have consequences for the employees’ health. Specifically deep acting should be more positively related to service performance than surface acting, but both should be related to burnout, withdrawal, and negative work attitudes. In conclusion, this study provides
useful information to organizations in the service industry, with better understanding on the process of emotional labor and how it can result in negative consequence for employees is the first step in attempting to improve the sometimes negative aspects of service work.
Implications The results of the current study have several implications for organizations, including motivating employees to meet organizational display rules. The finding of this study implicate the need to train the employees on how to control their emotions and display acceptable emotional labour efforts when interacting with customers or clients even in stressful situations. There is need to evaluate the emotional labour practices of employees in order to identify those who are using negative emotional labour skills that may drive away clients or customers from organizations. The literature has been clear that using deep acting more often is better for individual and organizational outcomes, including that it is preferable for employees to use deep acting strategies when performing emotional labor. In this study it was demonstrated that when an individual finds deep acting difficult to perform, it is detrimental to the individual, and they tend to use surface acting more often. Together, these findings suggest that developing a training program for employees to strengthen their use and ease of performing
deep acting would be beneficial to both employees and organizations. Recommendations It must be kept in mind that these results were obtained from a sample of call agents in a particular organizational setting and that this would probably limit the generality of the findings. Therefore, it is recommended that the study be replicated with other samples in various economic sectors and different measuring instruments before drawing conclusions about the positive or negative relationship between deep/surface acting towards burnout and job satisfaction variables in the call center environment. The non significance with surface acting and deep acting when it comes to job satisfaction may be explained by the complexity of the job satisfaction construct. The scale use un this study was a three-item measure of overall job satisfaction (Cammann, et al, 1979), so it may be fine-grained enough to determine the extend to which surface acting and deep acting may impact a particular facet of job satisfaction such as the nature if the work. Future research should take a facet approach in examining how surface acting and deep acting can affect job satisfaction.
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The Levels of Occupational Stress and the Coping Mechanism of Call Center Agents
Christine Michelle N. Morales
This study explores the specific stressors that an in-bound call center agent may have. This study also attempts to explore the coping mechanisms for such stressor/s. The method that was used in the study was quantitative. The respondents were 149 (67 males & 82 females) call center agents from call centers in Alabang, Muntinlupa. Using the Occupational Stress Inventory Revised Edition (OSI-R) by Osipow, 1998, the study found out that the agents particularly felt work stress in their responsibilities as call center agent and that their workplace may have been a factor as well, for the deal of stress they are experiencing. The study has also concluded that the coping mechanisms for such stressors were through the form of recreational activities and through social support.
“Many workers in the field make the value judgment…that an internal locus of control is
preferable to an external one; they argue that self-control can be used effectively to combat the potentially deleterious effects of stress. However, many critical stressors do not leave room for control, and passive acceptance may be the most appropriate coping strategy in such situations.” - Goldberger and Breznitz (1993) The development of computer and information technology is perhaps one of the most dominating factors in the ever-changing working life of today. The emergence of call centers is one of the evident developments man has produced as far as the development of computer and information technology is concerned. A call centre can be defined as a work environment in which the main business is mediated by computer and telephone-based technologies that enable the efficient distribution of incoming calls (or allocation of outgoing calls) to available staff, and permit customer – employee interaction to occur simultaneously with use of display screen equipment and the instant access to, and inputting of, information (Holman, 2003). In addition, call centre employees often work in noisy environments under high time pressure, and their performance is usually monitored on line (Ferreira & Saldiva, 2002). Some scholars have even argued that call centre jobs are an expression of an advanced form of Taylorism (Knights & McCabe, 1998; Taylor & Bain, 1999). Call center jobs can get demand from an individual. Although there may be not a lot of studies regarding call centers, supporting evidence is said to be growing. Grebner et.al, (2003) mentioned the following studies on call centers: A German study involving 250 call agents had poorer working conditions in terms of task variability and complexity and lower
job control, as well as higher psychosomatic complaints than people in comparable. A Swiss study among 242 call agents from 14 call centers (primarily inbound), showed that the task variety predicted psycho-social wellbeing, qualification requirements predicted job satisfaction, and lack of complexity and was related to low organizational commitment. Moreover, the same authors also mentioned that there was a study that found out about low job control predicted depression among inbound call agents of a national UK bank. These among others speak about studies regarding call centers. Locally, the call center business is the fastest growing industry in the country, growing last year by 90 percent as revenue reached $1.7 billion. More than 100 centers around the country have created a new class of relatively affluent and independent young Filipinos. There have been a few if not rare papers in regards to the studies on call centers in the Philippines. Call center industry in the local setting is practically new and so there has also been limited study if not rare papers on occupational stress experienced by call center agents in the Philippines. With such, this paper examines occupational stressors that an inbound call center agent may have and what are their coping mechanisms for such stressor/s. Review of Related Literature Stress Stress affects everyone. Today’s societal stress is skyrocketing at an alarming rate and placing tremendous strain on individuals, families, and communities. The explosion of technologic advances in cyberspace and the Internet continue to move information and communication at a soaring pace that continues to threaten the quality of interpersonal relationships. Environmental
factors such as air and noise pollution, crowding, societal and workplace violence, and a lack of loyalty by companies and employees add to the growing rate of personal, societal, and workplace stress. (Antai-Otong, 2001) Stress is the non-specific response of the body to any demand made upon it (Selye, 1988). According to Nancy Rosenberg (2005), stress can be defined as any state that causes people to lose their equilibrium, whether it is mentally, physically or emotionally. And so when stress hits a person, each has their own way of coping, depending on one’s personality or to what extent the stress is on a person at that time. Furthermore, stress has been defined by Gold and Roth (1993) as a condition of disequilibrium within the intellectual, emotional and physical state of the individual; it is generated by one’s perceptions of a situation, which result in physical and emotional reactions. It can be either positive or negative, depending upon one’s interpretations. Considering the definition of occupational stress, it is the physical or psychological disorder associated with an occupational environment and manifested in symptoms such as an extreme anxiety, or tension, or cramps headaches, or digestion problems. Simply put, it deals with stress of an individual that he got from a working environment, i.e. his workplace. Occupational stress situations are those in which characteristics of, or events related to, the workplace lead to individual’s ill health or welfare. One of the basic issues in the occupational stress domain concerns coping, or ways in which the individual can attempt to deal with the job stressors to ward off the aversive strains. (Beehr, et al., 1991). Stress in the workplace has increased over the past couple of decades. Occupational Stress can be one of the most debilitating types of stress there is. We practically spend more
hours in the workplace rather than in the comfort of our own homes. And the workplace entails more stressful and strenuous activities. And thus resulting to what we can coin as occupational stress. Research has demonstrated that occupational stress can adversely affect physical and mental health (Cartwright & Cooper, 1993). Furthermore, occupational stress appears to be a growing problem as many organizations increasingly find themselves functioning rapidly changing and external environments. Stress is the most commonly noted OHS issue in the call centre literature (Richardson et al, 2000). Studies indicate that stress is caused by the intensive nature of call centre work, and in particular, the constant demands placed on agents to meet overly stringent and unrealistic productivity targets (Richardson & Marshall, 1999). Stress has also been attributed to the “inconvenience of being literally wired to the desk”; unpredictable traffic peaks; speed-up of job cycles and the high levels of monitoring often present in these workplaces (Richardson et al., 1999). The pressure of dealing with customers on a continuous basis is another cause of strain, particularly when employees are subject to abuse and harassment from clients with no time to recuperate (Deery & Kinnie, 2002). There is also evidence to indicate that stress may be associated with the use of non-standard employment arrangements in these organizations (Burgess et al., 1997). Quinlan (2003) stressed that strong links can be established between non-standard employment and the absence of job security, and higher rates of injury, greater exposure to hazards and a higher incidence of disease and work related stress. Furthermore, Christensen (1998) suggests that some non-standard workers have reported “feeling like second class corporate citizens”, feelings that can easily translate into a diminished sense of self-worth.
Based on research and on existing models of stress, some definitions of occupational stress have been suggested in contemporary theory, focusing on different aspects: Job stress can be defined as the harmful physical and emotional responses that occur when the requirements of the job do not match the capabilities, resources, or needs of the worker. Job stress can lead to poor health and even injury (United States National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health Cincinnati, 1999). The emotional, cognitive, behavioral and physiological reaction to aversive and noxious aspects of work, work environments and work organizations. It is a state characterized by high levels of arousal and distress and often by feelings of not coping (European Commission, Directorate-General for Employment and Social Affairs, 1999). The World Heath Organization defines work stress as every state perceived as negative by a group of workers that is accompanied by dysfunctions on a physical, psychological and/or social level and is due to the fact that workers are not able to respond to the requirements and demands imposed by their work situation. Job stress and employee health studies examined the interaction of workplace characteristics, such as certain jobs, work environments, and personal qualities that were assumed to be contributing factors in job stress. These causal factors were classified as extra-organizational, organizational, task-related, and individual stressors. Extraorganizational stressors were found to come from outside the individual’s organization. Organizational stressors were identified as arising from within the individual’s organization.
Stressors classified as task-related stressors were identified as pertaining to an individual’s job duties and responsibilities. Individual stressors were acknowledged as being part of the personal difficulties within an individual that are magnified by work roles. These are the stressors that can lead to adverse physical, psychological, or behavioral consequences for individuals (Allison, 2004). Coping Coping strategies—the ways we deal with stressful situations—are intended to moderate, or buffer, the effects of stressors on our physical and emotional wellbeing (Moos, 2002). Contemporary theorists contend that individuals do have control over their stress responses by changing or modifying distressful aspects of their environments. This premise indicates that stress arises from one’s perception or cognitive appraisal of events or situations and resultant responses. Thus, stress management activities must provide opportunities to strengthen one’s repertoire of coping skills and promote realistic appraisals and subsequent modification of environmental distress (Lazarus, 1991). The current literature describes two major forms of coping: emotion-focused coping and problem-focused coping. Emotionfocused coping is directed towards modulating emotions generated by stress. This approach is generally used when an appraisal is perceived overwhelming and “I can’t do anything about it anyway.” Coping responses to this seemingly overwhelming situation involve modifying the stress so it is less injurious, threatening, or challenging. Problem-focused coping refers to making attempts to govern or modify the problem situation. This coping style involves adjusting or eliminating the stress, managing
the potential consequences, or actively making personal adaptive lifestyle changes. Another type of coping is called proactive coping, which consists of performing efforts ahead of time to mediate the negative effects of stressful events (Kurtus, 2005). Sometimes it's beneficial to confront stressors and deal with the source of the distress. This is especially true when dealing with task-oriented deadlines. It is better to confront and control the details and method of accomplishing the task, rather than avoid it (Brehm et al, 2005). A specific way to employ coping is by distraction, i.e. using mental images or activities to think of things other than the problem situation. This is especially helpful in situations in which the individual does not have actual control over the events. In this case, problem-focused coping is not effective and emotion-focused coping does act to relieve stress. Brehm, Kassin, and Fein in 2005 demonstrated this effect in their study of pain tolerance. Participants placed a hand in icecold water and were instructed to either avoid thinking about the pain or to form mental images of their homes. Those individuals who had used focused self-distraction to cope with the pain recovered faster. Individuals who cope well with negative events and adapt effectively in the face of loss, hardship, or adversity are psychologically resilient (Tugade & Fredrickson, 2004). They are characterized by their ability to "bounce back" from stressors and to exhibit flexibility to changing demands. An important element of resilience is positive emotionality, which is associated with strengths such as optimism, zest, energy, curiosity, and open-mindedness (Block & Kremer, 1996). Opening up by expressing inner
feelings to others is another form of emotionfocused coping. Pennebaker (1997, as cited in Brehm, Kassin, & Fein, 2005) suggests that psychotherapy, self-help groups, and religious practices enhance healing by offering individuals a chance to confide in someone and talk freely about their problems. Pennebaker studied the effect of expression of feelings on college students who were asked to speak or write for twenty minutes about past negative events. The process of speaking or writing physiologically aroused the participants; they became tearful as they recounted traumatic events. Soon after, the students felt better than ever, their blood pressure dropped, and they made less visits to the health center over the next six months. Other studies have also replicated the therapeutic effects of talking about a problem on mental and physical health (Kurtus, 2005). Sometimes individuals are able to make efforts beforehand to ameliorate the effects of stressors or to divert them entirely is Proactive Coping that consists of a number of steps that the individual enacts (Aspinwall & Taylor, 1997). An example of proactive coping is when an individual recognizes that the marketability of his/her job skills is decreasing due to technological advances and begins to pursue a study program to acquire new skills. Even simpler activities may be employed as part of the coping process, such as when a single individual realizes he/she will be emotionally distraught on a significant holiday and makes plans to engage with others on that day. The proactive coping steps are part of a framework made up of: 1) resource accumulation; 2) recognition of potential stressors; 3) initial appraisal; 4) preliminary coping efforts and 5) elicitation and use of feedback (Aspinwall & Taylor, 1997). Proactive Coping differs from other forms of coping in that it involves resource
accumulation that doesn’t target a particular stressor, rather prepares the individual in general. It also utilizes the ability to identify potential stressors before they materialize. It can't be used to avert all stressful events; chronic illness and the death of a loved one may be inevitable, however, proactive steps and preparatory activities can contribute to a better adjustment (Kurtus, 2005). The proactive coping model proposed by Aspinwall & Taylor (1997) represents interrelated tasks of self-regulation. The first stage begins with accumulating resources and skills such as time, money, specialized skills, and a network of family and friends. Time is an important resource because having some free time for reflection allows an individual to think through cues or warning signs, avert fatigue, and garner energy to initiate proactive strategies. The next stage involves the detection of potential stressors through the interpretation of environmental warning signs and/or the internal process of reflection. A social network plays a role in this detection because it brings to light information about such things as impending layoffs, financial shortfalls, and other changes in the institutions or relationships of importance to the individual. The liability associated with this stage is the risk of hyper vigilance leading to imagined problems or threats that do not materialize. The last stage of Proactive Coping is the revision of the final appraisal by taking into consideration other factors and information that have evolved over time. An important proposal about the proactive coping model is that active coping uncovers more information than avoidant coping, and that this information should be used in subsequent efforts to manage the stressor. The potential stressor may not have surfaced or it may have changed form. The coping efforts must consist of the use of feedback in the ongoing management of the stressor and the conservation of resources.
An important feature of proactive coping is that it often utilizes the resources of others. This includes practical, informational and emotional resources that can be provided by others (Greenglass, 2001). There are factors affecting an individual’s ability to cope: (1) Hardiness; (2) Resilience; (3) Explanatory Style; (4) Pessimism; and (5) Optimism. Hardiness Three stress-buffering traits that form a personality style called hardiness have been identified by Salvatore Maddi and Suzanne Kobasa (1991) —commitment, challenges, and control—that appear to influence how people react to potential stressors. Hardy people view the everyday demands of life as challenges rather than as threats. They are also committed to their families, jobs, communities, or other groups or activities that give their lives a sense of meaning. And, most important, they have a sense of control over their lives, of having access to needed information, and of being capable of making good decisions regarding the demands of life. Hardy people may be healthier because they are less likely become aroused by stressful situations. As a result, they avoid stress-related physical and psychological reactions that lead to illness (Straub, 2007). In another study, hardiness was shown to have a stronger protective effect against illness than exercise or social support (Kobasa and others, 1985). These and other studies in which hardiness and health-enhancing behaviors were measured separately indicate that hardiness is an independent trait not caused by other variables (Straub, 2007).
Resilience Very much related to hardiness is the concept of resilience, a term that has been applied to children who show a remarkable ability to develop into competent, welladjusted people despite having been raised in extremely disadvantaged environments (Garmezy, 1993). Research points to two group factors as to where resilience comes from. One group relates to individual traits, the other to social support (Straub, 2007). Seeking social support implies that a combination of strategies can support an individual by supplying problem solving information, while simultaneously helping another individual manage emotions through social interaction with the support of other individuals (Allison, 2004). Explanatory Style Your explanatory style—whether you tend to attribute outcomes to positive negative causes—also affects your ability to cope with stress. People who look the bright side of life —who see a light at the end of the tunnel— have a positive explanatory style and tend to cope well with stress (Peterson & Steen, 2002). Those with a negative explanatory style do not cope as well with stress. They expect failure because they believe that the conditions that lead to failure are all around them or even within them. Pessimism Pessimism is also linked with earlier mortality (Straub, 2007). In a study of personality data obtained from general medical patients at the Mayo Clinic between 1962 and 1965, Toshihiko Maruta and his colleagues (2000) found that patients who were more pessimistic had significantly higher (19
percent) mortality than more optimistic patients and that there are at least four mechanisms by which pessimism might shorten life: (1.) Pessimists experience more unpleasant events, which have been linked to shorter lives; (2.) Pessimists believe that “nothing I do matters,” so they are less likely than optimists to comply with medical regimens or take preventive actions (such as exercising); (3.) Pessimists are more likely to be diagnosed with major depressive disorder, which is associated with mortality; & (4.) Pessimists have weaker immune systems than optimists. Optimism Optimism may also help sustain immune functioning under stress (Straub, 2007). One study demonstrated that the pressure of first-semester law school took a less negative toll on immune activity in students who were optimistic about their academic success, compared with students who were pessimistic (Segerstrom and others, 1998). Meanwhile, authors Segerstrom and Taylor believe that optimists have healthier attitudes and better health habits than pessimists. The optimistic law students may have been more likely to appraise their course work as a challenge therefore perceive less stress); to exercise more; and to avoid smoking, alcohol abuse, and other healthcompromising behaviors. These healthenhancing behaviors would contribute to stronger immune systems and better functioning under stress. Optimists and pessimists have different physical reactions to stress but differ in how they cope with stress. Whereas optimists are more likely to try alter stressful situations or to take direct problem-focused action against stressor (Scheier and others, 1986), pessimists are more likely to ruminate obsess and be overwhelmed by persistent thoughts about
stressors (Nolen- Hoeksema and others, 1994). This tendency has been linked to self-criticism, history of past depression, and excessive dependency on others (Spasojevic Alloy, 2001). Optimists also perceive more control over stressors, which in leads to more effective coping responses, including seeking treatment when illness strikes (Lin & Peterson, 1990; Scheier & Bridges, 1995). In contrast, pessimists are more likely to perceive the world—and their health—as being uncontrollable (Keltner and others, 1993). Fortunately, pessimism is identifiable early in life and can be changed learned optimism (Seligman & Csikszentmihalyi, 2000). Seligman (1990) recommends learning the “ABC’s” of optimism. Stress and Coping Studies have examined various sources and consequences of workplace stress. To a lesser extent, they have covered strategies for coping with it. Most research on stress prevention has been conducted in the health and human services areas, since work-related stress is very prevalent in these assistance professions. Regardless of clientele, these successful stress-reduction programs include strategies that could be also applicable to call center agents. Through review of these studies, several major strategies were identified as successful in coping with stress and burnout: stress awareness, physiological training, environment adjustment, and mind control (Brown and Uhera, 2003). Research has also indicated that there are ways to help people cope better with stressors. It is important to know the factors that lead to stress, the physiological reactions of the body when under stress, and the way that stress can compromise the immune system and lead to illness (Brodsky, 1990).
Stress Awareness Stress-management research conducted by Cahill and Feldman (1988); Bunce and West (1996); Ganster, Mayes, Sime, and Tharp (1982); Reynolds, Taylor, and Shapiro (1993); Forman (1981); Higgins (1986); Pines and Aronson (1983); and, to a lesser extent, Milstein and Golaszewski (1985); and Long (1988) found that many successful intervention programs begin by building participants’ knowledge and awareness of stress and burnout. Awareness sessions presented in a non-threatening environment provide participants with updated information about the nature, signs, causes, and symptoms of stress. Following an initial awareness presentation, a more active and participatory component of stress management is often provided to help participants determine, identify, and understand the origins of stress. Topics include how to: Recognize stressproducing work events and the corresponding thoughts that they provoke (stressors); become aware of the effects of such thoughts on one’s physiological and emotional responses; recognize these physiological and emotional responses as manifestations of stress; systematically evaluate the objective consequences of stress-producing events at work; and replace self-defeating thoughts that invoke stress. Once cause of stress have been recognized and identified, preventative measures can be taken. Bunce and West (1996) demonstrated that participants can become empowered through various stressmanagement activities. After helping employees identify primary stressors, employers can provide training in counseling skills so that staff members are able to offer support and guidance to colleagues who are facing difficulties at work.
More authors like Greg Frost, Carolyn Gatty, Brown & Uehara (2003) have also cited that one way of coping from work stress is to raise your level of awareness of the stress that is building up so as to know what kind of prevention or ways how to counter such stress. Physiological Training Ganster, Mayes, Sime, and Tharp (1982); Bruning and Frew (1987); Reynolds, Taylor, and Shapiro (1993); Milstein and Golaszewski (1985); Cooley and Yovanoff (1996); Forman (1981); Kagan, Kagan, and Watson (1995); and Higgins (1986) emphasize the importance of physiological training in stress management. These techniques are effective when combined with other stress management strategies. Most successful stress-prevention programs also provide training in physiological coping strategies such as the following: (1) Biofeedback—Electronic measurement of mind-body functions (muscle tension, intestinal activity, blood flow, breathing, heartbeat) and techniques to control those functions; (2) Muscle Relaxation—Selfregulated, progressive body relaxation that puts the respondent in an extremely restful state; (3) Focused Meditation—Perhaps the oldest of all mind-body techniques. There are many meditation techniques; the most current and popular form involves focusing on a “mantra” (single word, number, or phrase) for about 15 to 20 minutes; (4) Breathing Techniques— Learning how to breathe for relaxation purposes; typically combined with other coping strategies. Simple exercises include closing one’s eyes; counting backwards from ten to one; inhaling while saying to oneself, “I am…,” and exhaling while saying “…calm and relaxed.”; and (5) Aerobic Activity—Any type of activity that raises the level of one’s pulse rate. Suggested exercises include bicycling, swimming, or jogging (Brown &
Uehara, 2003). Research by Murphy (1983) suggests that biofeedback and muscle relaxation are effective as part of a work-based stressmanagement program. In a study of nurses under stress, one experimental group received biofeedback, another received training in progressive muscle relaxation, and a control group received self-relaxation training. After three months, the biofeedback group reported increased work energy levels, and the muscle relaxation group noted a greater ability to cope with stress. Both experimental groups reported successful results more frequently than the control group. In addition, all three groups reported decreased anxiety levels and improved sleep. The results demonstrate that both biofeedback and muscle relaxation are effective relaxation strategies. Environmental Adjustment Another major component of successful stress-prevention programs is the development of situational coping strategies. Participants are trained in strategies that help them either change their reaction to specific stressful situations or alter their work environment. Participants learn: (1) Assertiveness Techniques; (2) Tools for Enlisting the Cooperation of Others; and (3) Skills for Changing a Stressful Situation. Landsbergis and Vivona-Vaughn (1995) evaluated an intervention designed to reduce work-related stress in a large and growing public health agency. During a series of meetings with a facilitator, participants discussed their stressors; developed proposals and action plans to reduce the stressors; provided feedback to the other employees; and encouraged and assisted management in implementing change to decrease stressful work-based situations.
In a longitudinal field experiment designed to examine the relative effectiveness of three stress intervention strategies, Bruning and Frew (1987) explored work ethics and personal values. They examined the importance of setting strategic and tactical goals, seeking collaboration of co-workers, and identifying barriers. Golembiewski, Hilles, and Daly (1987) studied an organizational intervention for human resources staff who became involved in their own stress diagnosis and treatment. Program features include the following activities: (a) listing three things that staff like about their department; (b) listing three “concerns” that they want to change; and (c) discussing the concerns. These steps then resulted in confronting their supervisor with the concerns, and developing—through consensus—a career progression plan for the company. Mind Control In addition to training participants in physiological and/or situational coping strategies, the experiments of Bruning and Frew (1987); Reynolds, Taylor, and Shapiro (1993); Forman (1981); Higgins (1986); Cooley and Yovanoff (1996); and Pines and Aronson (1983) emphasized the importance of cognitive appraisal and re-appraisal. Strategies for changing how one thinks about stressful or stress-producing situations, i.e., cognitive coping strategies, are an important component that leads to the reduction or prevention of stress. Training focuses on several mental techniques: (1) Replacing self-defeating, selflimiting beliefs with more constructive, realistic, and empowering ones: learning how to recognize self-doubt in order to coach oneself into changing these thoughts; (2) Identifying barriers: examining personal values, both work- and non-work related, and setting goals. Through this technique, roadblocks are identified. With training in other techniques such as time management,
barriers can be overcome; (3) Improving time management and goal setting/prioritization skills: keeping track of how one spends time and adjusting behavior to match identified goals. Activities such as To Do lists, weekly schedules, and six month planning calendars help participants focus energy and combat procrastination; (4) Using problem-solving techniques: encouraging participants to analyze, understand, and deal with problem situations rather than avoiding them, blaming others, or feeling helpless (5) Handling emotions: looking closely at how emotions such as frustration, anxiety, and fear contribute to ineffective coping strategies; and allowing participants to reassess their feelings and “rewrite” effective responses. These constructed responses provide cognitive, emotional, and behavioral tools that can be used during stressful situations; and (6) Dealing with life changes: developing counseling skills among participants in order to help colleagues deal with stressful events. This includes developing communication skills such as listening and empathy; actively listening as well as communicating ones’ thoughts effectively; and clarifying one’s personal feelings. Training includes lessons in identifying irrational beliefs and discriminating between things that can and cannot be changed. Skills for changing how one thinks about a situation are an essential part of many interventions (Brown & Uehara, 2003). Evaluative studies of intervention programs have a variety of outcomes for stress management and/or reduction. Both long- and short-term effects were noted. Overall results include: (1) Improved peer support; (2) Reduced levels of somatic complaints; (3) Enhanced feelings of personal accomplishment; (4) Decreased work pressure and role ambiguity; and (5) Improved job satisfaction.
While the majority of the studies showed positive effects, several authors mentioned the need for follow-up and longterm evaluation. One study collected data a year after the intervention and found that improvements had regressed to initial levels (Bunce & West, 1996). Another study (Golembiewski, Hilles, & Daly, 1987) showed that initial improvement faded somewhat one year after the program was completed. These results highlight the necessity of using methods that maintain intervention impact over an extended period of time. Ganster, Mayes, Sime, and Tharp (1982) emphasized the importance of using specialized trainers in the interventions. For their study, a clinical psychologist and an exercise and stress physiologist conducted the trainings. The effectiveness of their program when implemented by less specialized trainers is unknown. Synthesis Most of the studies on stress traced its definition from Selye (1988), wherein he stated that it is the non-specific response of the body to any demand made upon it. Simply put, it could mean anything that one is experiencing which he cannot seem to handle or control at a particular time or situation. Just the same, the definition of stress can vary as to the person experiencing it. Coping, on the other hand, is an individual’s way to put off stress if not completely buffering it out in order to get back on one’s feet. Coping strategies are intended to moderate or buffer the effects on our physical and emotional well being (Moos, 2002). Two major forms of coping have been explored, the emotion – focused coping and the problem – focused coping. An individual may choose whatever style of coping that suits his or her personality, as long as it could relieve him of
the stressful event or situation. Another form of coping that has been explored is the proactive coping. It is said to differ from other forms of coping as it does not target to eliminate a particular stressor, but rather prepares the individual in general. It also utilizes the ability to identify potential stressors before they materialize. Anticipation is one key in this area of coping. The individual then anticipates what stressor could possibly build up or accumulate. So before the stress could actually worsen, the individual would know how to deal with it and would not be feeling so eaten up by the stress. Much are yet to be explored in the call center industry here in the Philippines. There have been only a few studies or research made for our local call centers - there is still a lot to learn and know about in the call center industry, as to these call center giants itself, the employees, the employee’s well being, their job satisfaction, even the stress that they are experiencing, and how do they cope with such are among those that are to be explored. In this paper, the stress is focused on the workplace of a call center. It is not new to us that the workplace is one stressful environment. The stress may come from different factors, the work pace, pressure from management or boss, colleagues who can annoy or be a distraction with work, and even the technology that comes with it that is supposedly making the workplace productive. The call center uses technology - computer, headset, telephone – to name a few. Making use of these things can be stressful, when in fact that an agent has to make use of these things at the same time. Multi – tasking is the key but it can be stressful. These and other factors of stress in the call center are one of the focuses of this paper. After finding out the stresses that a call center agent experiences, the researcher would then like to identify their coping mechanism/s on these work stresses.
Method The need for the study for occupational stress in the workplace especially that of a call center, is important because of the unavoidable work stress that an agent experiences differs from any work setting. This study looks at the stressors of a call center agent, their coping mechanism for such stressors. Respondents The sample population consists of 149 in-bound call center agents (male = 67; female = 82) from call center companies in Alabang, Muntinlupa. The participants’ age ranges from 20-47 years old, from both genders. The respondents have been gathered by the researcher through some of the pool of sources available at hand, like network of people, or by disseminating the test online for some. Materials The Occupational Stress Inventory Revised Edition (OSI-R) has been used in this study to measure occupational stress, strain and coping. The OSI-R was developed by Osipow in 1998 and is not intended for clinical utilization but rather for research purposes. The OSI-R's three dimensions are defined as the Occupational Roles Questionnaire (ORQ), Personal Strain Questionnaire (PSQ), and the Personal Resources Questionnaire (PRQ). The three dimensions are further divided into the following scales: 1. Occupational Roles Questionnaire (ORQ) Role Overload, Role Insufficiency, Role Ambiguity, Role Boundary, Responsibility, and Physical Environment. 2. Personal Strain Questionnaire (PSQ) Vocational Strain, Psychological Strain,
Interpersonal Strain, and Physical Strain. 3. Personal Resources Questionnaire (PRQ) Recreation, Self-care, Social Support, and Rational/Cognitive Coping. Each scale is comprised of ten items, with the total number of items for all scales being 140. The ORQ consists of sixty items and the PSQ and PRQ have forty items each. All participant responses are based on a five point Likert scale and include five anchor points: rarely or never, occasionally, usually, often, and most of the time. Occupational Stress Inventory – Revised (OSIR) Scale Descriptions (Osipow, 1998, p.2) Domain/Scale Occupational Role Questionnaire (ORQ) .078-.040.063 Role Overload (RO) Measures the extent to which job demands exceed resources (personal and workplace) and the extent to which the individual is able to accomplish workloads. Role Insufficiency (RI) Measures the extent to which the individual’s training, education, skills and experience are appropriate to job requirements. Role Ambiguity (RA) Measures the extent to which priorities, expectations, and evaluation criteria are clear to the individual. Role Boundary (RB) Measures the extent to which the individual is experiencing conflicting role demands and loyalties in the work setting. Responsibility (R) Measures the extent to which the individual has, or feels, a great deal of responsibility for the performance and welfare of other on the job. Physical Environment (PE) Measures the extent to which the individual is exposed to high levels of environmental toxins or extreme physical conditions. Personal Strain Questionnaire (PSQ) Vocational Strain (VS) Measures the extent to which the individual is having problems in work quality or output. Attitudes toward work are also measured. Psychological Strain (PSY) Measures the extent of psychological and/or emotional problems being experienced by the individual.
Interpersonal Strain (IS) Physical Strain (PHS) Personal Resources Questionnaire (PRQ) Recreation (RE) Self-Care (SC) Social Support (SS) Rational/Cognitive Coping (RC)
Measures the extent of disruption (e.g. withdrawal or aggressiveness) in interpersonal relationships. Measures complaints about physical illness and/or poor self-care habits. Measures the extent to which the individual makes use of and derives pleasure and relaxation from regular recreational activities. Measures the extent to which the individual regularly engages in personal activities which reduce or alleviate chronic stress. Measures the extent to which the individual feels support and help from those around him/her. Measures the extent to which the individual possesses and uses cognitive skills in the face of work-related stresses.
An Individual Data Form has been developed to gather information regarding the demographic variables that is related to this study: (a) age; (b) gender; (c) civil status; (d) job tenure; (e) weekly working hours; (f) perceived stress level of the agent. Procedure The researcher brainstormed of the companies and possible contact person that of whom can be of help for the gathering of the data. The researcher then explains the questionnaire to the contact person. The said contact person asked for an endorsement letter from the institution where the researcher belongs, so as to make everything valid and official. The company would still have to approve of the instrument to be used with them before giving out copies. Other participants were known to the researcher; meanwhile others were friends of friends or their colleagues at work. Others were handed out to the participants through email. Once the researcher received back the survey forms back, it was tallied down, sum all the raw scores for each section and converted it into T scores from the conversion table derived from the OSI-R Normative Sample for Administrative Support Occupation Group (Osipow, 1998, p.55), which is the occupational group of the call center agents.
Results and Discussion Demographic Results The respondents consisted of 149 in-bound call center agents (male = 67; female = 82). The participants’ age ranges from 20-47 years old, from both genders. There are 61 (74%) single female call center agents (CCA) whose ages ranged from 20-46 years old, while there are 21 (26%) married female CCA whose ages ranged from 23-47 years old. On the other hand, there are 48 (72%) single male CCA whose ages ranged from 22-28 years old, while there are 19 (28%) married male CCA whose ages ranged from 22-35 years old. All of the agents work full time, mostly working at one of the call center giants in Manila – HSBC. The respondents follow the regular schedule of working 5 days a week for 8 hours a day. Based from the tallied scale rates from the agents, the single female CCA mostly answered 310, while the married female CCA answers’ ranged from 6-10. This suggests that those married female CCA perceive their work as more stressful than those of the singles. This could be that they have other priorities in mind like their families. For the males on the other hand, the single male CCA answers’ ranged from 2-10, while the married male CCA answers’ ranged from 5-10. This implies also that the married male CCA perceived their work as more stressful than those who are single. This could also be that they have other priorities in mind like their families and/or other responsibilities they may have.
While most of the respondents answered “No” for any treatment received from stress at work, there are but a few treatments received indicated for the female CCA such as: medical attention, team building activities, massages or spa. This shows that some female CCA make conscious effort in distressing themselves through efforts of taking care of their well being through therapies or medical attention. On the other hand, the male CCA prefer to go to the gym and do some working out as a form of relieving stress. Others would take advantage of the company’s benefit such as taking a vacation leave, while others opt to go out with family or friends after work or during weekends. Tenure and Perceived Stress Table 1. CCAs’ Tenure and their Perceived Stress Gender No. of Respondents Tenure Female 49 out of 82 or 60% 2 years to 6 years 33 out of 82 or 40 % 1 year & below 12 out of 67 or 18 % 11 months & below Male 55 out of 67 or 82 % 1 year to 4 years Rating 7-10 3-6 2-9 5-10
Table 1 shows that majority of the female CCA with the longer tenure as CCA perceived their work as most stressful, while other female with lower tenure showed a lower perceived stress from their work. The male CCA on the other hand, showed almost equal perceived stress from their work even if they have stayed up to 4 years in the company. This denotes that they have quite high tolerance for the possible stress they may be experiencing at work, than that of the female CCA. Occupational Stress Inventory – Revised (OSI-R) – Osipow, 1998 Table 2. Summary of Data for the Area of Occupational Role Questionnaire (ORQ)
Area of ORQ Strong Probability of Maladaptive Stress/Debilitating Stress/Both (At or Above 70T) Mild Maladaptive Normal Range Stress/Strain (40T to 59T) (60T-69T) Absence of Occupational Stress (Below 40T)
Role Overload (RO) Role Insufficiency (RI) Role Ambiguity (RA) Role Boundary (RB) Responsibility (R) Physical Environment (PE)
5 2 4 2 34 28
38 12 44 36 64 42
96 127 95 101 51 79
10 8 6 10 0 0
Based from the summary of data for the area of ORQ, it showed that the majority of the respondents’ work stress levels are on the normal range. This implies that the call center agents have just the right amount of stress they can handle.
There are also some considerable amounts of respondents who are experiencing mild maladaptive stress, meaning they are almost overboard to being too stressful in their work. Though there are also quite a number of agents who have strong probability of maladaptive stress, that of which stress levels are a little bit out of hand. High scorers for each of the dimension of this area of the OSI-R vary in description and implication, though it exhibits that the individual experiences some difficulties and somewhat overwhelming expectations and/or responsibilities at work. Agents were most seen to experience the most difficulties in the area of Responsibility (R) and Physical Environment (PE). High scorers for Responsibility (R) may report high levels of responsibility for the activities and work performance of subordinates. They are worried that others may not perform well. They are sought for leadership and frequently have to respond to others’ problems. They also may have poor relationships with people at work or feel pressure from working with angry or difficult employees or the public (Osipow, 1998, p.12). Lindsay Gibson, director of training at Alexandria, Virginia-based VIPdesk.com Inc., said that it pays for a call-center agent to be a bit of an actor. Every call is unique, and employees may need to be upbeat one minute and sympathetic or supportive the next. Flexibility counts (Smith, 2008). High scorers for Physical Environment (PE) may report being exposed to high levels of noise, moisture, dust, heat, cold, light, poisonous substances or unpleasant odors. They may also report having an erratic work schedule or feeling personally isolated (Osipow, 1998, p.12). Call centers are perhaps among the most complicated business units to plan and implement. They require introspective corporate strategic planning. They involve unique human resource considerations and make use of advanced communications hardware and software technology. And although design needs for call centers should respond to specific situations, there are some universal components to good call center facility design. Lighting is critical. The most common physical problem in keyboard-intensive environments is eye strain. A computer screen acts as a mirror, primarily reflecting the ceiling surface. Lighting must be designed to provide uniform ambient illumination at levels high enough to prevent extreme contrast, but low enough to reduce glare. Typical power requirements, such as surge protection and uninterrupted power supplies, apply to call center design in addition to more sophisticated issues such as power harmonics. Computer transformers tend to shunt a portion of the electronic sine wave, which finds its way back to the main transformer, multiplies, and disturbs overall harmonics (Kingsland, R.L, 1998). Meanwhile, there are only very few if none whose answers fall on the category of no work stress or the absence of occupational stress. These agents may like their job all too well or are simply too used to such kind of work. Table 3. Summary of Data for the Area of Personal Strain Questionnaire (PSQ)
Area of PSQ Strong Probability of Maladaptive Stress/Debilitating Stress/Both (At or Above 70T) Mild Maladaptive Stress/Strain (60T-69T) Normal Range (40T to 59T) Absence of Occupational Stress (Below 40T)
Vocational Strain (VS) Psychological Strain (PSY)
42 12 88
Interpersonal Strain (IS) Physical Strain (PHS)
Based from the summary of data for the area of PSQ, it showed that the majority of the respondents’ personal stress levels were on the normal range. This indicates that the respondents manifest normal amount of personal strain/stress that they can handle. There are also quite a number of respondents who answered for having mild adaptive stress/strain and those who have a strong probability of maladaptive stress/debilitating stress/both, considering that the number is concentrated particularly in the area of Vocational Strain (VS). The high scorers in this area may report poor attitudes toward their work, including dread, boredom or lack of interest. They may report making errors in their work or having accidents. They may also report that the quality of their wok is suffering. Concentration problems and absenteeism may be present (Osipow, 1998, p.12). Telemarketing managers know all too well the challenge presented to them by absenteeism. Due to the stressful nature of telemarketing work, absenteeism is far higher than in other sorts of workplaces and turnover is high because of the almost inevitable burnout (Powell, 2008). On the other hand, there are also very few respondents who manifest the absence in this area of OSI-R. These particular individuals may have balanced well their personal life with that of their work life. Table 4. Summary of Data for the Area of Personal Resources Questionnaire (PRQ)
Area of PRQ Lack of Coping Resources (Below 30T) Mild Deficits in Coping Skills (30T- 39T) Average Coping Resources (40T to 59T) Strong Coping Resources (At or Above 60T)
Recreation (RE) Self-Care (SC) Social Support (SS) Rational/Cognitive Coping (RC)
1 4 6 4
9 15 22 40
94 108 91 77
45 22 30 28
Based from the summary of data for the area of PRQ, it showed that the majority of the respondents’ coping skills are on the average level. This denotes that the respondents take the right amount of ways as to destressing themselves from the bump and grind at work. While there are a lot of respondents on the average coping scale, following next are those respondents who have strong coping resources. These two categories depict on how the respondents more or less cope and/or the kind of coping they do in order to relieve them of the stress/strain they may be experiencing at work. For those whose answers fell on the category of strong coping resources, the answers were concentrated in the area of Recreation (RE), implying that the respondents make conscious effort into destressing themselves.
High scorers for Recreation (RE) may report that they may take advantage of the recreational/leisure time coming to them and engage in a variety of activities that they find relaxing and satisfying. They may also report doing the things they most enjoy in their spare time (Osipow, 1998, p.13). Each of the section of the Inventory has been further divided into subtopics, making it possible for the individual to assess what he or she may lack and/or vice versa. In this study, the researcher examined which gender got a lower or higher result than the other. Table 5. Comparison of means of the result between the subtopics of each section Male Female
Section 1 Occupational Role Questionnaire (ORQ)
Role Overload (RO) Role Insufficiency (RI) Role Ambiguity (RA) Role Boundary (RB) Responsibility (R) Physical Environment (PE)
Section 2 Personal Strain Questionnaire (PSQ)
26.77612 27 22.32836 25.02985 31.32836 25.19403 23.35821 29.20896 25.80597 24.73134 31.01493 28.43284 39.8209 36.95522
23.76829 29.2439 21.32927 23.76829 26.78049 20.7439 25.31707 27.03659 26.06098 32.90244 28.30488 24.96341 38.9878 33.79268
Vocational Strain (VS) Psychological Strain (PSY) Interpersonal Strain (IS) Physical Strain (PHS)
Section 3 Personal Resources Questionnaire (PRQ)
Recreation (RE) Self-Care (SC) Social Support (SS) Rational/Cognitive Coping (RC)
Table 5 presents the comparison of means of the result from the raw scores gathered between the subtopics of each section of the OSI-R. Every area of the Occupational Role Questionnaire (ORQ) discusses the work stress of the individual. It is seen that the male manifested higher stress levels at work than the female. In section one, the area of Responsibility (R) was the highest for the male which is X = 31.32836 and X = 23.76829 for the female. Osipow (1998) interprets high scores for this particular area as report high levels of responsibility for the activities and work performance of subordinates. The males may have less tolerance for such work responsibilities than that of their female counterparts. However, the participants got the lowest mean for two different subtopics in ORQ. The male got the lowest in the area of Role Ambiguity (RA) with the mean of X = 22.32836, which implies that the male may somewhat have a clearer sense of what they are expected of at work than that of the female. The female, on the other hand, scored the lowest in the area of Physical Environment (PE) with the mean of X = 20.7439, which means that the female feels that the workplace environment is not really a factor for experiencing stress in the workplace.
In section two, it showed that the female scored higher in most of the subtopics except for the area of Psychological Strain (PSY). In this particular area, the male got the mean of X = 29.20896, while the female had the mean of X = 27.03659. High scorers for this particular area may report feeling depressed, anxious, unhappy and/or irritable (Osipow, 1998). This suggests that the male may have weaker emotional tendencies than that of the female. As for the other subtopics of section two that showed that the female got higher mean results than that of the male, it implies that the female manifests higher personal stress, making them vulnerable and somewhat difficult to set apart their personal life with that of their work life. In section three, it is the male who garnered higher mean results than that of the female, particularly for the area of Social Support (SS). It should be noted however, that both genders scored high in this particular area, with merely a .1 difference, X = 39.8209 for the male, X = 38.9878 for the female. This indicates that both male and female have their way of destressing themselves with help of peers, family, or other social group they might be involved in.
Conclusion and Recommendation From the data gathered, it is therefore concluded that the call center agents’ work stress were particularly heavy in the area of Responsibility (R) and the Physical Environment (PE). It is familiar to most that the work of a call center agent entails long working hours in front of a computer and over the telephone and bulk that they have to carry over the conversation they might have taken during the calls. The calls they handle are really not a typical phone call conversation, but rather on heavy situations, in most cases, a furious client, complaining about the product. These among others are the kind of calls an agent handles on any typical day. And it’s rather a normal call. So they take in the responsibility of taking such kind of calls which can be an enormous task for others. It is indeed their nature of work but sometimes these agents still feel that it is somehow overwhelming to actually experience it for most of their working hours everyday. Along with that is their strive to reach a certain quota, like in most call centers, which they should accomplish at any given day at work. With that, they feel the heaviness of the responsibility to keep up with the great deal of performance expected from them by the company. Alongside with the overwhelming responsibilities they encountered, the physical environment of their workplace also seemed a little too stressful for these agents. Working in an uncomfortable environment makes it quite difficult to perform well, especially that it is in this particular setting that an employee is confined in, in his/her working hours. The physical environment involves not only the four corners of the office, but the facilities as well, i.e. chairs, desks, etc. These facilities around the call center agent are factors for their work stress as they could not function all too well if they feel even the slightest discomfort in the setting they are in, that of where they are performing their job. The workplace should be conducive enough for these agents to work in so that they might perform better, and it could actually lessen their stress, if only they feel comfortable enough with the environment they are in, that consumes 8 hours of their day. These simple things should be taken into consideration so as to alleviate if not eradicate, the stress of call center agents.
The researcher also found out that the agents mostly experience the Vocational Strain (VS). The agents who particularly have high results in this area have the tendency to have poor attitudes towards their work, including dread, boredom, or even lack of interest. These kinds of qualities that the agents may have particularly manifesting are quite expected already. Due to the monotonous kind of work these call center agents have, it is no wonder that the agents will manifest boredom or lack of interest in their job one way or the other. They have no other thing to do besides being in front of a computer, and accepting or making calls. Results from the demographics and the questionnaire revealed that the coping mechanisms of these call center agents were through the form of Recreation (R). It is indeed the most common and easy way of coping with stress, as they would be involved in recreational activities that interests them and/or take advantage of the leisure time coming to these agents. Some recreational activities have been mentioned that these agents engage in as a mean of coping with work stress: team building activities, having massages, going to the spas, and going to the gym for some. While the others, they have sought medical attention for the stress, i.e. seeing a psychiatrist once in a while. Whereas most of these agents have been in the company for more than two years, having such treatment or kind of destressing themselves, should not even surprise us. They are after all, also a human being. The researcher concludes that work responsibilities and the conduciveness of the workplace play quite an important role for the stress experienced at work by call center agents. Reaching a quota, speaking with numerous clients over a period of time can be quite tiring but these are expected from call center agents - that of which they have to deal with everyday. It is through recreational activities that these agents are trying to destress themselves with. They also cling to social support to back them up in times of stressful events at work. It can be thought as one of the most practical way of destressing, as one would only need another person to talk or open up problems with. It is what we can call a ‘confidante.’ The researcher recommends that the next researchers study about call center agents on a different kind of stress and with more variables. The next researcher may also study about making an intervention on call center agents in order to see its effectiveness towards occupational stress.
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Well-Being, Job Satisfaction, and General Health of Call Center Agents in the Alabang Area
Andrew Z. Sobreviñas
The link between Well-Being and Job Satisfaction, correlating to General Health condition of call center agents was examined. The study used a 30 item questionnaire with a 5 point rating scale, personally designed to meet its objectives. The study covered 322 call center agent workers in Alabang area, male and female, aged 19 to 35 years old. Research results showed that Health is significantly correlated to Well-being with a Pearson R of 0.1133 and with a p-value of 0.0422 < 0.05 (5% level of significance), while Health and Well-being are positively but not too highly correlated. On the other hand, result also shows that Health is not significantly correlated with Job Satisfaction with Pearson R = -0.0233 and with a p-value of 0.6766 > 0.05. Also, same with Well-being with a Pearson R = 0.0434 with p-value = 0.4372 > 0.05.
Filipinos have fantasies about being rich. They join lotteries, sweepstakes and do other means to make money easily. Suppose a college student won P10 million in the lottery and suddenly becomes a millionaire, will he still look for a job? Why do people work? First, work offers a person a sense of identity and status, indicating the person that he is. Work contributes to self-esteem and can satisfy the drive for fulfillment and accomplishment for meaning and purpose in life. Second, a job brings social rewards, meeting the need for belonging to a group and providing the security that comes from becoming an accepted and valued member of a team or community. Work furnishes opportunities to form friendship and meet types of people with whom we might otherwise not come in contrast. At the least, work can prevent us from feeling lonely. Choosing the most appreciative career and selecting the right kind of job may be the most important decision a student will ever have to make. Perhaps, one can already begin to understand why
his course may be among the most personally relevant courses of his college life, regardless of the type of work he pursue. There are a lot of college graduate students every year, coming from different universities and colleges with different courses and professions. Thus, the majority of them settle on in a call center industry, even if it is not actually in line with their accomplished degree. This research study will give a glimpse of you a call center industry, which is considered a steadfast business in the country today. According to Bedanrek (2004), a call center is a centralized office used for the purpose of receiving and transmitting a large volume of requests by telephone. A call center is operated by a company to administer incoming product support or information inquiries from consumers. Outgoing calls for telemarketing, clientele, and debt collection are also made. In addition to a call center, collective handling of letters, facsimile, and e-mails at one location is known as a contact center. It is often operated through an extensive open workspace for call center agents, with work stations that include a computer for each agent, a telephone set/headset connected to a telecom switch, and one or more supervisor stations. It can be independently operated or networked with additional centers, often linked to a corporate computer network, including mainframes, microcomputers and LANs. Increasingly, the voice and data pathways into the center are linked through a set of new technologies called computer telephony integration (CTI) (Fluss, 2005). In the dazzling city of Manila, the capital of the Philippines is described to be as busy as an anthill with thousands of call center agents trooping to their respective workplaces, not minding the bad weather condition due to the country’s geographical condition. When the clock strikes 8pm until the tiny hours, it is officially the start of the day for the Filipino Customer Service Representatives. This is the scene which one will observe in the Philippines brought about by the fast growing outsourcing industry occupying the gleaming towers in Metro Manila. The Philippines is now gaining a quick share in the customer-service call center industry, which is a steadfast business in the world today. The outsourcing business is something that is being given importance because this is a huge economic benefit in terms of employment since it had been operating in the country in the year 2000 (Nash, 2005). Moreover, a call center is a communications-based company which serves as a support system for larger companies in first world countries like the United States. Call or contact centers handle customer complaints and inquiries and provide technical support for a wide array of products and services like electronics, e-mail management, mortgage, insurance, advertising, telecommunications and even volunteer and charity work. For a customer service representative, his job description is basically to receive from and make calls to foreign countries. There are two categories of call centers: inbound and outbound calls. And there are three types of accounts: telemarketing, customer service and technical support, where telemarketing belongs to the inbound category. However, customer service centers also engage in up selling, which means offering or selling services. With all these types of categories, Filipino agents are considerably tough and can employ further development in handling any types of concerns.
Alongside China and India, the Philippines is also considered as a perfect location for such industry due to its less expensive labor costs. The effective way of the Filipinos to communicate in English strengthen the campaign of the government to establish more contact centers across the country. It is noted that this country has been referred to as English-speaking, with almost 95 percent of the population delivering an effective fluency and comprehension of the English language. With a long history of contact with the United States, including several decades of American colonial rule, Filipinos are more attuned to Western culture than most Asians are. Call center employees in the Philippines not only find it easy to relate to Westerners but are also quick to adapt to a variety of accents. Today, the Philippines is one of the world's key players in offshore call center business together with China and India. Investors are likely to place more contact centers because of the lower cost of labor compared to the other Asian countries and better infrastructure including the state-of-the-art technology. The Philippine call centers continue to cater clients from the US, United Kingdom and Australia, with hired customer service representatives obliged to learn foreign accent and at the same time study the geography and cultural mores of these foreign countries and work on a graveyard shift. Being the third largest English speaking country in the world and with a high literacy rate, the Philippines is considered as one of the most competitive call center destinations in the world. Compensation and benefits wise, call center workers enjoy a premium salary package. Aside from these, they also enjoy receiving commissions, night differential pay, bonuses and freebies from the company they work for. Working in a call center in the Philippines does not require age limit, as long as the applicants can communicate proficiently in English. The contact center companies also encourage fresh graduates from the universities and colleges to apply anytime.
Because of this, Filipinos nowadays get the chance to be employed easily once they obtained their bachelor or diploma degrees because of the vast emergence of call centers everywhere in the Philippines especially in the Ortigas, the Makati and the Alabang Areas. Their bachelor degrees do not seem to matter whether they are matched or not with their jobs in the call center jobs. Just like Luisa and Lara’s situation, 20-year-old Luisa disclosed that call center is her first job when she finished her bachelor’s degree on May 4, 2007. At 12am., Luisa leaves her house in Tondo, a suburb in Manila, as her shift starts at 2am. She is a Banking and Finance graduate from the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP). “Working in a call center in the Philippines is really a big challenge for me especially that I’m new to this business. I spent most of my time and energy on this job,” she said, who handles an inbound call (Bacasong, 2007). On the other hand, Lara, a graduating engineering student, ironically knows she would most likely end up not practicing her chosen profession. She plans to apply as a call center agent in Makati right after graduation. Doubting she will even pass the licensure exams, she knows it would be difficult for her to compete for the few decent job openings available to inexperienced engineering graduates like her. In addition, “she is more than happy with the comparatively high basic salary offered in the call center industry” (Herrington, 2007). These only show that people employed in this job for a couple of years were used to on their tickling general health like biological sleeping habits as well as their well-being. They sleep all day long just to regain their strength and wake up again at the little hours to prepare themselves for a nightlong work. Like nocturnal animals, they are awake in the evening and are asleep in the morning. Clad in casual attire with matching fashionable coats are the most common pieces of clothing if one is a call center worker. During break times, some may even occupy the expensive various dining areas in Manila. In Alabang for instance, call center agents enjoy their 30minute or hours break at McDonald’s or Starbucks, while some sit on the corner and light up their cigarette as a way of releasing their stress from work. This research study sought to find out the link between Well-Being and Job Satisfaction to General Health condition of call center agent workers, working in various call centers, in Alabang. It is designed to find out whether health problems degrade a person’s ability to perform task, focusing to investigate the relationships of job satisfaction level as an important factor influencing the health and well-being of workers. Review of Literature Measures of Job Satisfaction and Health All organizations are concerned about the safety records of their employee’s health because accidents on the job cause suffering (sometimes death) to employees. “Economic loss resulting from
industrial accidents run into billions of pesos every year from lost of hours work, employee compensation, and the cost of training replacement workers” (Getty, 2000). Many studies have shown a link between job satisfaction and health. Having a lot of stress at work can make us sick. Many people have unrealistic workloads which negatively influences their health and their relationship with family and friends. Professor Cary Cooper from Lancaster University has done a major research in this area. He evaluates the research evidence linking selfreport measures of job satisfaction to measures of physical and mental wellbeing. As a result, his studies suggest that job satisfaction level is an important factor influencing the health of workers. The overall correlation combined across all health measures and job satisfaction was most strongly associated with mental/psychological problems. Strongest relationships were found for burnout, selfesteem, depression, and anxiety. The correlation with subjective physical illness was more modest (Cooper, 2005). Another study was made by Schoppen and Boonstra in 2002, similar to the study of Professor Cary Cooper of Lancaster University. They describe the indicators of job dissatisfaction among amputee employee and to compare job satisfaction and health experience of people with a lower-limb amputation in comparison with healthy colleagues. Result illustrate that people with an amputation had greater job satisfaction than did the able-bodied group. The wish for better modifications in the workplace and in the presence of comorbidity was significantly related to job satisfaction in people with limb-loss. Amputee employees were less often hindered by the failures of others and by fluctuations in temperature. People with limb-loss showed a worse physical health experience than the able-bodied group (Schoppen and Boonstra, 2002). Measures of Job Satisfaction, Mental Health and Job related Well-being Work can be good for us, but it can also be harmful to our health. In addition to physical hazard in the workplace itself, a job can contribute to a person’s level of anxiety or frustration. If we are disappointed in our plans for advancement or dissatisfied with our boss, we are likely to bring our discontentment at home with us at the end of the workday. We then get angry at our brothers, sisters, or even pets. We kick our cat or dog to relieve our frustration. Heart disease, ulcers, arthritis, and other psychosomatic illnesses have been traced to stress and dissatisfaction in the workplace. Measures of Job Satisfaction, Organizational Commitment, Mental Health and Job-related Well-being are a unique source of benchmarking data across four widely used questionnaire methods. Promoting the satisfaction, commitment, mental health and well-being of employees is important not only in itself, but also because evidence shows that those who are positive in these respects respond better to change and are more productive. Acceptance, the willingness to experience thoughts, feelings and physiological sensations without having to control them or let them determine one's actions, is a major individual determinant of mental health and behavioral effectiveness. Results indicated that acceptance predicted mental health and an objective measure of performance over and above job control, negative affectivity, and locus of control. These beneficial effects of having more job control were enhanced when people had higher levels of acceptance (Stride, Wall & Catley, 2005). Well-being and workplace
Work is an important and meaningful aspect of life, affording more than your means of livelihood. Work provides a sense of identity, describes your social status, contributes to your selfesteem, and satisfies your need for belonging and affiliation. Most of us spend around a quarter of our lives at work. Understanding people’s well-being in the workplace, therefore, it is likely to be important. One study by Blanchflower and Oswald in 1999, attempts to examine the factors that shape well-being at work. There are seven main findings in their research. First, the great majority of workers in the industrial democracies appear to be remarkable content with their jobs. Second, job satisfaction appears to be gently trending down over time in United States. Third, they show that the fall is not explained by the decline of unions, nor by, as documented, the existence of a slowly growing job insecurity in the US. Fourth, the cross-section patterns in job satisfaction are similar from one nation to another. Fifth, after controlling for personal characteristics, they produce a ranking of job satisfaction across the nation, Ireland is top. Sixth, workers across the European Union say that compared with five years earlier, they are under much increased stress and pressure at work. Seventh, when standard mental stress measure is used to examine workers’ well-being across 15 nations, Ireland and Sweden emerge as the least-stressed countries, and Italy France and Spain appear the most-stressed (Blanchflower and Oswald, 1999). Health and Well-Being You all have relationships with many people in your lives and all of these relationships are different. Whether it is with friends, family, co-workers and classmates, significant others, partners or acquaintances, it is important to know how to have healthy relationships with the person in your lives that is what well-being means, the state of being healthy, happy, prosperous, or welfare. It also covers the feelings of being interested, excited, alert, grateful, strong, determined, calm, attentive, forgiving, energetic, hopeful, proud, enthusiastic, appreciative, active, etc. Healthy relationships increase our self-esteem, improve mental and emotional health, and help us have fuller lives (Page, 2005). Well-being and its related concepts of quality of life and life satisfaction has been the subject of research in many disciplines. As topics of research here in the Philippines, their definition, operationalization and measurement did not seem problematic, largely because the meaning of these concepts was assumed to be universal. Moreover, since the indicators were usually objective, most research proceeded to apply and measure indicators developed elsewhere. A past research was also conducted regarding health and well-being in a “relationship”. It was theorized that in loving and positive relationships, each partner is often motivated and inspired to help the other maintain a healthy lifestyle. When you love someone very deeply there is a natural tendency to nurture and protect. In sum, the result of the research proves that when two people care deeply about themselves and each other, they strive to take care of their physical health. The reason is simple: They want to be around a long time to enjoy and share their life together. Relationship vitality is both a metaphorical expression and an actual goal for many (Blackwell, 2005). Another study about health and well-being was studied to support the relationship between perceived health and well-being. Although there is a general acknowledgement that health plays and important role in well-being, little is known about the psychological constructs and processes that underlie this relationship. The study concluded that the association between perceived health and well-
being was due to a person’s general outlook tendencies. Thus, when a person tends to view the world in a positive light, this is reflected in positive perceptions of their health, and vice versa (Roysamb, 2003). Other studies have proposed models of the psychological constructs which may explain the health and well-being link. Okun and George in 2002, proposed that influence of self-rated health on well-being is mediated by personality, specifically neuroticism, and demonstrated support for this hypothesis by finding that the relationship between well-being and self-rated health is weakened when the effects of personality are partialled out. Subjective Well-being Why is it some people are happier than others? Is it because they make a conscious effort to ‘look on the bright side of life’, because they experience more pleasant events than others or because they just have naturally happier dispositions? The area of study dedicated to answering these questions is subjective wellbeing (SWB). Subjective wellbeing (SWB) is generally described as a positive state of mind that involves the whole life experience. Its components are thought to include life satisfaction, positive affect and negative affect (Diener & Smith, 1999). Subjective Wellbeing (SWB) is thought to be a combination of positive and negative affect and life satisfaction, and is often equated with what lay people call happiness (Diener, Oishi & Luca, 2003). A particularly notable and well-documented finding within this area is that an individual’s level of SWB is held at a set-point. That is, an individual who reports a high level of SWB at Time 1 is likely to report a similar level of well-being at time 2, regardless of the time interval between the two measurements. (Emmons & Diener, 1998) The construct thought to determine individual SWB set points are personality and positive and negative affect. The constructs of personality and affect are also highly related. For example, Emmons and Diener found that positive affect (pleasant emotions such as joy and happiness) contributed considerable variance to extraversion, while negative affect (unpleasant emotion such as anger and fear) contributed variance to neuroticism. The trait found to be most related to SWB was positive affect. From these result, they concluded that people high in extraversion and positive affect are more satisfied with their lives than are people high in neuroticism and negative affect. (Zheng, Sang & Lin, 2004) Recent findings suggest that our biologically pre-determined SWB set-point may be represented by core affect. Core affect is defined as an object-free blend of pleasant and unpleasant feelings and arousal that influences all human activity (Russell, 2003). That is, core affect defines how we generally feel. Although ever present and easily accessed, core affect is not generally attended too. Job Satisfaction
The frequent, continuous, and impartial appraisal by an organization of the performance of its employee is vital not only for the growth of the organization, but also for the growth of the individual employee. Factors that place a considerable impact on the efficiency of any organization are the motivators of the employees, the kind of satisfaction they receive from their membership in the organization and the extent of their involvement, these are strongly influenced by various aspects of work environment – for example, the quality of leadership, advancement opportunities, level of work security and physical and psychological work climate (Berin, 2003). Job satisfaction is a worker's sense of achievement and success. It is generally perceived to be directly linked to productivity as well as to personal well-being. Job satisfaction implies doing a job one enjoys, doing it well, the state of finding fulfillment in one’s work, and being suitably rewarded for one's efforts (Arvey and Segal, 1998). Job satisfaction on the other hand, has been defined as a pleasurable emotional state resulting from the appraisal of one’s job, an affective reaction to one’s job, and an attitude towards one’s job. The happier people are within their job, the more satisfied they are said to be (Weiss, 2002). Job satisfaction has been extensively studied in the workplace. A vast number of published studies have suggested a link between job satisfaction levels and health. The sizes of the relationships reported may vary widely and narrative overviews of this relationship have been published. One study by Cooper and Faragher in 2005 was conducted, evaluating the research evidence linking self-report measures of job satisfaction to measures of physical and mental wellbeing, concluded that Job satisfaction was most strongly associated with mental/psychological problems. Strongest relationships were found for burnout (corrected r = 0.478), self-esteem(r = 0.429), depression (r = 0.428), and anxiety(r = 0.420). The correlation with subjective physical illness was more modest (r = 0.287). Job satisfaction refers to a set of attitudes that employees have about their jobs. We may describe it as the psychological disposition of people toward their jobs and how they feel about the work. This involves a collection of numerous attitudes and feelings. Thus, job satisfaction or dissatisfaction depends on a large number of factors, ranging from where employees have to park their cars, and whether the boss calls them by their first name, to the sense of achievement or fulfillment they may fin in their work. Research on the dispositional source of job satisfaction has had a spotty history in job satisfaction research. Hoppock (1995) for example, noted a strong correlation between workers’ emotional adjustment and their level of job satisfaction. Similarly, Fisher and Hanna (1993) concluded that a large part of dissatisfaction resulted from emotional maladjustment. Another research about job satisfaction was made by Judge and Mount in 2002 regarding the meta-analysis of five-model of personality and job satisfaction. Results further indicated that only the relations of Neuroticism and Extraversion with job satisfaction generalized across studies. As a set, the Big Five traits had a multiple correlation with job satisfaction, indicating support for the validity of the dispositional source of job satisfaction when traits are organized according to the 5-factor-model.
Results also suggest that the five-factor model is a fruitful basis for examining the dispositional source of job satisfaction and conscientiousness displayed moderate correlations with job satisfaction. (Judge and Mount, 2002) Additional factors not directly part of the job can also influence job satisfaction. For example, job satisfaction varies as function of age, health, number of years in work, emotional stability, social status, leisure and recreational activities, family relationships and other social outlets and affiliations. Even personal motivations and aspirations and how well these are fulfilled can influence the attitude we have towards our work. Another research also suggests that for some employees, job satisfaction may be stable, enduring, individual characteristics, independent of the features of the job. For these workers, changes in job status, pay, or working conditions may have no effect on their level of job satisfaction. Their tendency to be happy or unhappy may vary little over time and circumstances. (Staw, 1999) Health Health is clearly a complex and multidimensional concept. Personal or individual health is largely subjective. In the preamble to the constitution of the World Health Organization (WHO) health is described as "a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity." Stokes, Noren, and Shindell, (1982) defined health as state characterized by anatomical, physiological, and psychological integrity; ability to perform personally valued family, work, and community roles; ability to deal with physical, biological, psychological, and social stress; a feeling of well-being; and freedom from the risk of disease and untimely death. The basic condition of being healthy and having health maintenance are: first, safe environment (clean air, safe water, land free from toxic substances, and shelter that protects people against the elements.) second, enhanced immunity (the protection against lethal and crippling infectious diseases.) third, sensible behavior (the way people behave and influences their health in many ways, and behaving sensibly is an obvious requirement for good health. Health-related behavior is influenced by our values, which are determined by upbringing, by example, by experience, by the company one keeps, by the persuasive power of advertising and by effective health education.) fourth, good nutrition (a balanced diet comprises a mixture of the main varieties of nutriments like protein, carbohydrates, fats, minerals, and vitamins.) fifth, well-born children (by this term we mean children who are free from genetic defects, safely and easily born to healthy mothers after a pregnancy of normal duration, and nurtured securely to ensure that they pass developmental milestones in a timely manner so they grow up fit and strong.) and lastly, prudent health care (regular consultation or medications to doctor regarding our health condition) (Norman, 2001).
Call Center Agents in Alabang area.
General Health Condition
The diagram shows the flow of the study in identifying the level of Job satisfaction and General health condition of its respondents as well as their level of Job satisfaction and Well-being, and to also show the relationship between General health condition and Well-being.
Method a.) Participants As a part of the instrument’s validity-reliability procedure, 30 respondents participated from JP Morgan Chase and Co. (Fort Bonifacio, Taguig), whereas the survey proper covered 322 call center
agents working in the Alabang area. All participants were selected through non-probabilistic purposive sampling from the said area in and around a major call center industry. In accordance with the ethical principles of the American Psychological Association, the participants were treated with regards to informed consent, detailed description of the nature of the research study, debriefing, and confidentiality. b.) Materials The research study used a 30-item questionnaire, personally designed to meet the objectives of the study. It used a 5-rating likert scale with scores interpreted as 1=strongly disagree, 2=disagree, 3=neither, 4=agree, and 5=strongly agree. It covered 10 questions on Job Satisfaction by Hackman and Oldham (1997), 10 questions on General Health condition by Christine Robitschek Ph.D. and 10 items on General Well-being scale (GWBS) by Insel and Roth, (2006). Writing tools (pencil/ball pen) is also used in the research study. c.) Design and Procedure At the beginning of the academic quarter, a 30-item survey questionnaire was personally designed gathering 22 survey questions on Job satisfaction, 22 on General Health condition and 15 on General Well-being scale (GWBS). From the total of 59 questions, 3 validators were asked to eliminate unnecessary questions and revise those that were deemed necessary. A 5-rating scale is made for each question that ranges from 1=strongly disagree to 5=strongly agree, wherein 1 is the lowest and 5 is the highest. Physical Symptoms were also assessed by having participants check off whether they had experienced any of the following situations: headaches, faintness, dizziness, stomachache, stomach pain, shortness of breathe, chest pain, skin irritation, runny / congested nose, stiff or sore muscles, irritable bowels, hot or cold spells, stomach upset / nausea, poor appetite, coughing / sore throat, chronic back pain, bronchial asthma or other. A space was provided for participants to write in any unlisted symptoms they may have experienced. In addition to the listing of physical symptoms, moods commonly occurring in the participants are also assessed such as interest, distress, excited ness, alertness, irritability, sadness, stress, shame, happiness, gratefulness, tiredness, upset, strong ness, nervousness, guilt, joy, determination, thankfulness, calmness, attentiveness, forgiving, hostility, energy, hope, enthusiasm, activeness, afraid, proud, appreciative, anger or others. After the construction of the survey questionnaire forms, the researcher performed the pilot testing for the instrument’s reliability procedure. 50 participants in the said procedure were recruited in JP Morgan Chase and Co. Fort Bonifacio, Taguig but unfortunately, 20 participants failed to comply, resulting to only 30 participants left as respondents for the pilot testing. The pre-test and post-test had a 4-day interval, with no time limit in answering the survey forms. As a result, the reliability of the instrument garner a Cronbach’s alpha coefficient of 0.8384 and 0.8140 using split-half reliability method, which showed that the instrument has a very high reliability level and ready to be given and answered by the actual participants in the research study (see appendix G, H, O, & P). The participants came from different companies and institutions such as Convergys, Genpact, HSBC, and First Source Company located in North Gate Alabang. They were randomly selected and answered the survey forms as long as they are working call center agent, with ages ranging from 19 to 35 years old,
male or female. Explanations were given to the respondents when asked. As the survey recruitment ended, the respondents reached a total of 326 working call center agents. d.) Statistical Analysis After the survey recruitment procedures, scores were gathered, computed, and analyzed using Microsoft Excel for the descriptive analysis of the data, and STATISTICA and System Analysis Software (SAS) for computing the correlation (Pearson R) using the standard level of significance or α which is .05.
Results Results of the research study were summarized on the table below: Table 1: Results of the Actual Data using Pearson Correlation
Correlations (factor means) Marked correlations are significant at p < .05000 N=322 (Casewise deletion of missing data) Job Satisfaction Health Well-being Job Satisfaction 1.00 -0.02 0.04 Health -0.02 1.00 0.11 Well-being 0.04 0.11 1.00
Pearson Correlation Coefficients, N = 322 Prob > |r| under H0: Rho=0 Job Job 1.00000 Health -0.02333 0.6766 Health -0.02333 0.6766 Wellbeing 0.04344 0.4372 0.11329 0.0422 1.00000 Wellbeing 0.04344 0.4372 0.11329 0.0422 1.00000
Interpreting the data, Health is significantly correlated to well-being with a Pearson R of 0.1133 with a p-value 0.0422 < 0.05 (5% level of significance). Health and well-being are positively but not too highly correlated. Health is not significantly correlated with job satisfaction with Pearson R = -0.0233 with a p-value of 0.6766 > 0.05. Also, job satisfaction is not significantly correlated with well-being with Pearson R = 0.0434 with p-value = 0.4372 > 0.05.
Table 2 Descriptive statistics of three variables in Actual Data of the Respondents
Descriptive Statistics (factor means) Valid N Job Satisfaction Health Well-being 322 322 322 Mean Minimum Maximum 4.100000 4.500000 4.400000 Std.Dev. 0.219952 0.252376 0.242569
3.534955 2.800000 3.757764 2.900000 3.711491 3.000000
Table 2 shows the descriptive statistics of the three variables (Job Satisfaction, Health, and Well-being) in actual data of the respondents. Health obtains the highest mean score which is 3.76, followed by Well-being (3.71) and Job Satisfaction (3.53) as the least. This means that the respondents answered the questions on Health, higher than the questions on Well-being and Job satisfaction. Furthermore, Health again attain the highest standard deviation score which is 0.25, followed by Wellbeing (0.24) and Job Satisfaction (0.22) which means that the respondents answered each item on Health questions in a consistent likert scale and not in a scattered way.
Figure 1 Box Plots of Item scores on Job Satisfaction, Health and Well-Being in Actual Data of the Respondents
B o x & W h iske r P lo t 4 .6 4 .4 4 .2 4 .0 3 .8 3 .6 3 .4 3 .2 3 .0 2 .8 2 .6 J o b S a tisfa c tio n H e a lth W e l l-b e in g
M e d ia n 2 5 % -7 5 % M i n -M a x
Figure 1 presents the Box and Whisker Plot which shows box plots of item scores in Job Satisfaction, Health and Well-Being in actual data of the respondents and how the respondents answered items 1 to 10. The beginning and end of the vertical lines will gives an idea about the minimum and the maximum scale that the respondents answered in the particular item. The small boxes will show us where the median is in each particular item, while the rectangular boxes will show
us where the 25%-75% falls under each item. Almost all of the items were consistently answered in 3rd & 4th likert scale which is also the median and 25%-75% of almost all of items.
Discussion Significant difference between Job satisfaction and General Health The results of the study suggest that health is not significantly correlated with job satisfaction with a Pearson R of -0.0233 and a p-value of 0.6766 > 0.05. The result agreed with the research study of Schoppen and Boonstra in 2002, when they described the indicators of job dissatisfaction among amputee employee and to compare job satisfaction and health experience of people with a lower-limb amputation in comparison with healthy colleagues. Result illustrate that people with an amputation had greater job satisfaction than did the able-bodied group. Similar in this research study, it does not necessarily imply that a person who highly loves his job has also an excellent health or if a person who is not satisfied in his job, he has a poor health. The result in getting the relationship between Job satisfaction and General health indicates that Health does not affect a person’s satisfaction on his Job. One cannot immediately conclude that a person who is healthy is well satisfied in his job and a person who is always sick is not satisfied with his job. There are a lot of variables that affect a person’s level of job satisfaction and not only health. It reflects in the study of Schoppen and Boonstra that health does not only affect a person towards his level of fulfillment and pleasure in his job. Other factors can be applied on it like presence of comorbidity, salary, managerial-employee relationship, cohesiveness with the co-workers etc. On the other hand, relating the result from today’s environmental, employees can be happy or satisfied with their job even if they are always under strain or stress at workplace, and vice versa, an employee can be unhappy and dissatisfied with his job even if they are not under strain and pressure with their work in the organization and they are always feeling fresh and rested. It all really depends on the variables that affect job satisfaction which was mentioned above. The mentality of Filipinos today when talking about job is decisive. They would rather stay in an organization even if they are not happy and satisfied because it is really difficult to find a job nowadays and they cannot just replace their job and find another one whenever they are not happy anymore with it. It will just depend on certain circumstances if an employee would not be satisfied in his job because his job causes the weakness of his health. In some ways, there are employees who already know that their job causes the poorness of their health yet, they still stay in the organization. But in this situation today, it will still depends on several reasons why he wants to stay, its either he really loves the job, he is afraid of being jobless when he left the company, or he needs the job to earn money for his family. Upon having the same result with the research study of Schoppen and Boonstra in 2002, one study on the other hand shows the opposite of this research study in his existing study. Professor Cary Cooper from Lancaster University has done a major research in this area. He evaluated the research evidence linking self-report measures of job satisfaction to measure of physical and mental health and well being. As a result, his studies suggest that job satisfaction level is an important factor influencing 112
the health of workers. The overall correlation combined across all health measures and job satisfaction was most strongly associated with mental/psychological problems. One reason considered why his research study mismatches with this research study is because he included the entire possible variable that can affect a person’s Job satisfaction. He made a very detailed correlation based on Physical health, mental health, and well-being, unlike in this research study where health is taken as a variable in a general sense. Significant difference between General Health and Well-being In correlating General Health and Well-being, result shows that Health is significantly correlated to well-being with a Pearson R of 0.1133 with a p-value 0.0422 < 0.05 (5% level of significance). Health and well-being are positively but not too highly correlated. It signifies that there is a significant difference between General Health and Well-being. The result shows that a healthy person has also a high level of well-being and vice versa, a person with a poor health has also a low level of well-being. Both variables are related and correspond to each other. The results were supported by three existing studies about health and well-being. First, Roysamb in 2003 studied the relationship between health and well-being. The study concluded that the association between perceived health and well-being was due to a person’s general outlook tendencies. Thus, when a person tends to view the world in a positive light, this is reflected in positive perceptions of their health, and vice versa. Second was the study of Blackwell in 2005. It was theorized that in loving and positive relationships, each partner is often motivated and inspired to help the other maintain a healthy lifestyle. In sum, the result of the research proves that when two people care deeply about themselves and each other, they strive to take care of their physical health. The reason is simple: They want to be around a long time to enjoy and share their life together though relationship vitality is both a metaphorical expression and an actual goal for many. Lastly, other study that supports the result of this study has proposed models of the psychological constructs which may explain the health and wellbeing link. Okun and George in 2002, proposed that the influence of self-rated health on well-being is mediated by personality, specifically neuroticism, and demonstrated support for this hypothesis by finding that the relationship between well-being and self-rated health is weakened when the effects of personality are partialled out. The three supporting studies only show that health plays an important role in well-being. It is a logical way of saying and observing that a person who is healthy will show the feeling of being interested with things around, excited, alert, determined, calm, attentive, energetic, appreciative, active etc. while a person who is always tired and sick will shows distressed and irritability whereas he would rather sleep in a workplace rather than to mingle with co-workers and talk about interested things during break hours. Significant difference between Job satisfaction and Well-being Work is an important and meaningful aspect of life, affording more than ones means of livelihood. Work provides a sense of identity, describes social status, contributes to self-esteem, and satisfies one’s need for belonging and affiliation. Most spend a half of their lives at work. Understanding people’s well-being in the workplace, therefore, it is likely to be important. Like the result of the correlation between Job satisfaction and health, job satisfaction is also not significantly correlated with well-being with a Pearson R of 0.0434 and a p-value = 0.4372 > 0.05. The result showed that there is also no significant difference between Job satisfaction and Well-being.
It is supported by the study of Blanchflower and Oswald in 1999 which showed that well being of examined workers do not take any effect with their satisfaction in workplace. The level of wellbeing of an employee does not necessarily defy employee satisfaction. Like health, it is not assured and does not just depend on a single variable in knowing the reasons and ways of an employee to be satisfied. There are a lot of variables and reasons behind it: A person may always be enthusiastic and cheerful at work or always present at work, but still, it cannot be concluded that he is satisfied with his job. A person can be active and cheerful at work place in such reasons, and not only because he is satisfied with his job, maybe because it is already rooted on his personality, he is an optimist person, or either way, someone made his day great, or he has a very nice sleep, rested, and encounter a fresh morning. There are so many factors that can occur. It just depends on the situation that is unseen or perceived by the other.
Conclusions and Recommendation Based on the results and data gathered, the researcher therefore concludes that: 1. The result of the correlation between Job Satisfaction and General Health shows that there is no significant difference between Job Satisfaction and General Health. 2. Health and well-being are positively but not too highly correlated. It signifies that there is a significant difference between General Health and Well-being. 3. The results of this study show that there is also no significant difference between Job satisfaction and Well-being. In terms of practical implication, this research can be a vehicle for raising consciousness about the under representation of call center agent workers here in the Philippines in perceiving and evaluating their job. Call center agent workers still need to improve their image of integrity because they are perceived as workers who only work and seek out for money/salary and not for personal status, self-esteem, satisfaction in job or feeling of sense of achievement in their job. Job Satisfaction of an individual can possibly increase if one or more of intrinsic and extrinsic variables are supplied. For further repetition and replication of this work, a better way to improve this study is to recruit more respondents and provide more significant variables to determine an employee Job Satisfaction effectively. For gathering data, use Standardized tests to make the data more reliable and get a more accurate answer for the study. A follow up study can be conducted for thorough investigation. This research can be served as a reference for the future researches to be able to support the investigation. This study can be a way of help for the managers in coping with the needs of his employees inside the organization. In case other students would like to continue this study, they should control extraneous variables for the success of the results and the whole research study. Maintain the consistency of the instrument by having the participants answer the survey questions in different locations for pilot testing and actual data gathering to avoid overlapping of participants. Try to recruit more respondents for pilot testing and produce more participants in actual data gathering. It would also be easier if a letter of request in Human Resource Department will be used and allowing to conduct the research study inside the company. In the pilot testing, the students are suggested to take a longer time interval for Pre-testing and Post-testing. 1 to 2 weeks would be enough for time interval of the test, but 1 month interval is definitely better for the participants to avoid remembering the questions in the survey easily and to
assure that they already forgot those questions in the survey and already forgot their answers in each question of the survey during their Pre-testing. In actual data gathering, future researches are advised to eliminate survey sheets with incomplete answers to have a right set result and to maintain the consistency of the data. The researcher also recommends to gather data using different forms of other media such as newspaper, electronic media etc. and not only limit the given participants to female employees but also to male employees.
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Job Satisfaction and Locus of Control among Lipa City Call Center Agents
Raiza Esther T. Sucaldito
This study determined the relationship between job satisfaction and locus of control. The researcher used a two self- report questionnaire to gather data. MSQ is a 20 item self-report questionnaire that uses a seven-point Likert type Scale. The Locus of Control Scale (LCS) is a 29-item self-report questionnaire that uses a forced choice format. A sample of 150 call center agents from Lipa City participated in this study. Using the Qualitative research design and with the help of Microsoft Excel for finding out the descriptive analysis and for computing the Pearson R correlation with a .05 level of significance, the results suggested that call center agents with an internal locus of control appear to experience significantly higher job satisfaction in all three categories: general, extrinsic and intrinsic. Having a Pearson R of -0.12, the General Job satisfaction has negative relationship to locus of control. Also, the study found out that intrinsic and extrinsic job satisfaction also shows no significant correlation to locus of control with a Pearson R of -0.17 and -0.22.
The call center industry became a by word in this country for the past six years or so. New college graduates choose to go into call center companies; reeled in by the prospect of earning higher salaries compared to what other private companies offer. Despite the attractive financial package enjoyed by call center agents, personnel issues such as high levels of absenteeism and turnover remain as major concerns for managers. These were attributed to employees’ job satisfaction, which led to researches and studies on employees’ personality traits This study focuses on the relationship between call center agents’ job satisfaction and their locus of control orientation. Data gathering and research tools were centered on these areas as well as on theories, definitions, history, and different models of job satisfaction; as it was determined during the course of gathering initial information that there are only a handful of studies done on the subject. This is a very timely study considering absenteeism and attrition rate or turnover rate, have direct impact on a call center’s productivity, which in turn affects revenue. Since BPO’s (Business Process Outsourcers), such as contact centers are paid by clients in exchange for timely and efficient service, penalties imposed on the company due to failure in meeting agreed upon service levels dent, and will eventually cripple BPO’s if issues such as absenteeism and attrition are not managed effectively. On a global scale, apart from rising wages and language proficiency, one of the other major reasons why a lot of big players in the contact center industry moved to the Philippines from their previous hub in India is because of the latter’s high attrition rates (Call Center Helper.com). Needless to say, additional studies on job satisfaction are needed in order to provide the academe and the think tanks of the industry, references and tools on how to improve management of employee issues in order to facilitate if not guarantee job satisfaction. Job satisfaction implies doing a job one enjoys. One of the factors attributed to job satisfaction in a call center setting is the individual’s personality, his dispositional characteristics that is the locus of control variable. This can be internal or external and will significantly influence the job satisfaction level of the call center agents. Furthermore, aiming to determine whether factors such as gender, tenure and qualifications affect job satisfaction and locus of control, new candidate profiling tools and new selection procedures can hopefully, be developed as additional measures for mitigating the risk of increasing absenteeism and staff turnover within the call center environment. 119
In this study, the researcher aimed to determine the locus of control that affects job satisfaction of call center agents in Lipa City. Specifically, the study sought to answer the following questions: 1. If there is a relationship between job satisfaction and locus of control among call center agents. 2. If the following factors such as gender, tenure and qualifications affect job satisfaction and locus of control. The human resource management in a call center setting is confronted with problems of finding ways to deal with the high percentage of absenteeism and turnover in this work environment. This is attributed to workload and stress experienced by call center agents, aggravated by the lack of opportunities for promotion. This study attempts to focus on the effect of the locus of control to the kind of job satisfaction a call center agent may experience. Given the significance of work in an individual’s life, it is vital to understand how the personality variables such as the locus of control may influence the level of job satisfaction min the call center setting. Review of Related Literature The increasing demand for client-centered service in a highly competitive business environment has resulted in a substantial increase in the number of call centers worldwide (Knight, 2004; Nel & De Villiers, 2004; Williams, 2000). On average, call centers are growing at something like 30- 35% per annum in terms of call volumes, and 20 – 25% per annum in terms of the number of agents. According to some estimates 1 in 20 jobs in the USA nowadays are in call centers (Banagra, 2000). Research and surveys alike confirm that human resources form the strategic factor that makes all the differences in managing the customer – focused culture is the main asset when seeking competitiveness and getting the most out of the customer relation. Technology can support but never replace human resources skilled in communications, problem – solving and caring. The term “call center” refers to the environment within an organization where the call center agent, via the medium of the telephone, provides client support and/or a sales channel through which new business is generated and present business is retained (Nel & De Villiers 2004; Sprigg, Smith & Jackson, 2003). Call centers are generally regarded as a high- stress environment that makes unique demands on employees (Townsend, 2005). In order to carry out their duties successfully, call center agents require specific attributes, such as the ability to maintain good customer relations and deal with constant technological change. The abilities to adapt to fast- changing circumstances, to anticipate, and to deal with complaints are therefore essentials for success in this environment (Nel & De Villiers, 2004). In addition, call center agents must be able to remain calm and controlled even when facing abuse from customers in order to uphold the company’s standard of quality service (Lewig & Dollard, 2003).
From a managerial perspective, the call center manager is confronted with the problem of finding ways to deal with the high percentage of staff absenteeism and turnover in the call center environment as a result of the workload and stress experienced by call center agents (Banagra, 2000; Townsend, 2005). Factors that lead to unhappiness in call centers are the monotony and repetitiveness of the job content and this situation is aggravated by lack of opportunities for promotion and by stress, which leads to high turnover rates. This trend has lead to a renewed focus on recruiting individuals who show the greatest potential to be successful in a call center environment (Nel &De Villiers, 2004). Accordingly, attention to individual personality traits as a means of predicting an employee’s behavior has become one of the most prominent features of recruiting in organizations today (Carr, De la Garza & Vorster, 2002; Du Toit. Coetzee & Visser, 2005). Most studies on the subject of call centers have focused on job satisfaction but little attention has been paid to individual personalities at call centers (Bouch 2004; Holdsworth & Cartwright, 2003). According to Pretorius and Rothmann (2001), situational factors in the job environment as well as dispositional characteristics of the individual can influence job satisfaction. Given the significance of work in an individual’s life, it seems vital to understand the relationship between job satisfaction and personality variables such as locus of control in call centers. The research study authored by Carrim, Basson and Coetzee (2006) was conducted to determine the relationship between job satisfaction and locus of control in the call center environment and whether call center agents’ levels of job satisfaction are associated with their locus of control orientation. Also, it sets out to determine whether job satisfaction levels and locus of control orientation are influenced by their gender, tenure and qualifications. Job satisfaction is defined as an effective (emotional) response to work that is produced by an employee’s comparison of the real results that are achieved to the results he or she expects from working environment ( Mesterl, Visser, Roodt & Kellerman 2003; Pretorius & Rothman 2001). Job satisfaction is related to behavior that indicates a positive organizational orientation (Pretorius & Rothman 2001). Pivotal to the concept of job satisfaction are the attitudes, emotions and feelings about a job and how these attitudes, emotions and feelings affect the job and the individual’s life (Stemple 2004). Moreover, Job satisfaction implies doing a job one enjoys, doing it well, and being suitably rewarded for one’s efforts and it also further implies enthusiasm and happiness with one’s work. The Harvard professional group (1998) sees job satisfaction as the key ingredient that leads to recognition, income, promotion, and the achievement of other goals that lead to a general feeling of fulfillment. On the other hand, locus of control refers to the extent to which individuals believe that what happens to them is within their control or beyond it (Rotter 1966). Locus of control can be either internal or external. People with internal locus of control believe that the outcomes of their actions as a result of their own personal effort and ability. They believe that hard work and personal abilities will lead to positive outcomes. On the other hand people with an external locus of control believe that their actions do not influence future outcomes and that the outcome of these actions are dependent on factors outside their personal control (Landy & Conte 2004; Martin, Thomas, Charles, Epitopaki & Mc Namra 2005). The present study aims to validate expectations that high levels of job satisfaction are associated with the high level of internal locus of control and lower level of external locus of control in the call center environment.
Conceptual Framework This chapter also presents the foundation for this thesis paper. This study used the framework of trust adapted by Dahanayaka et. al (2001) in order to identify and describe the process of how to show the relationship between job satisfaction and locus of control in a call center environment. However, what was used was only the part of the framework, which focuses on areas that will help this thesis to achieve its aim. The critical factors from which the framework is based were taken from literature concepts, which identified the areas of the study critical to the success of this paper. This paper has defined job satisfaction in call center areas and its relationship with personality variables such as the locus of control in call centers. In a job setting, trust and job satisfaction are interrelated. To achieve job satisfaction, it is vital that the company is able to instill in the employee’s mind the foundation of trust in the company they worked for. The framework is the guiding principle to achieve job satisfaction. It is a structure consisting of critical success factors that are necessary to be aware of in order to achieve the goal of job satisfaction in a call center environment.
Figure 1: Conceptual Framework Figure 1 shows how the principles of the Framework of trust adapted by Dahanayaka et. Al (2001) applies to the variables of the study, namely; Locus of Control, Employee profile, Working conditions, Key performance Indicators (KPIs) and Job satisfaction.
Locus of Control is defined as an individual’s perception about the undergoing main causes of events in his/her life or simply put, does one believe that his destiny is controlled by himself or by external forces such as fate, God or powerful others. Thus, locus of control is conceptualized as referring to two orientations: the internal locus of control and the external locus of control. An individual who has an internal locus of control attributes success to her own efforts and abilities, while an individual who has an external locus of control attributes his or her success to luck or fate. Employee profile is the way of controlling which strengthens the structure to manage the working conditions and is composed of educational qualifications, gender and age. Working conditions are defined by the way of working which determine the means needed to solve a certain situational problems in a call center environment such as rotating shift schedules, high volume of calls, benefits and incentives. The key performance indicators (KPIs) are the areas within an employee or company’s job function, which directly impact service sufficiency or expected profit. These are the critical success factors such as absenteeism, turnover and promotion rates. Job satisfaction is an effective response to work that is produced by the employee. Identifying the level of LoC will determine if the agent’s employee profile coupled with the company’s working conditions will bring about a positive or negative effect on key performance indicators. Employee profile and Working conditions are factors that call centers control in order to predict a positive KPI outcome. They do so by categorizing and prioritizing specific Employee Profiles over others and by setting the work conditions an employee will be then subjected to. Results of KPIs will enable call centers to determine the overall job satisfaction level in the company. Overall, the level of Locus of control will determine employee’s job satisfaction level in the company.
Research Design The researcher used the qualitative research design to substantiate the study with adequate information to be able to produce a comprehensive study. Respondents In this particular study, a random sampling of 200 call center agents in Lipa City areas was done. The Human resource managers of subject call centers were approached to allow the researcher to distribute survey questionnaires. A total of 150 respondents answered and returned the questionnaires. Participants were composed of male and female call center agents. The respondents were divided into four categories. These include education, tenure, age and gender. With education, respondents were classified into college graduates and undergraduates. Tenure was classified according to the number of years in the call center. This study focused on those with three years or more length of service, and those with less than three years of tenure in the subject call center. Age of respondents was categorized into two: those who are 21 years old and above and 20 years and below, and of coarse gender includes male and female participants. Respondents were approached during their break time or after their shift. Two measuring instruments were used, namely the shortened Minnesota Satisfaction Questionnaires with a total of 20 items and Rotter’s Locus of Control Scale (Rotter 1996) with 29-items. A biographical questionnaire was used to obtain personal details of the participants. Instruments Two measuring instruments, namely the shortened Minnesota Satisfaction Questionnaire (MSQ20) with 20-items developed by Weiss, Dawis, England and Lofquist (1967) and Rotter’s Locus of Control Scale (Rotter 1966) with 29-items were used in the present study. A biographical questionnaire was used to obtain personal details of the participants. The shortened Minnesota Satisfaction Questionnaire (MSQ) was used to assess participants’ general, intrinsic and extrinsic satisfaction with their jobs (Weiss et al 1967). The MSQ is a 20 item self-report questionnaire that uses a seven-point Likert Scale. The questionnaire contains responses, which are weighted from very dissatisfied to be very satisfied. A summation of all 20 items yield a general satisfaction score and the two subscales yield an intrinsic satisfaction score (relating to the content of the job itself, such as variety, satisfaction with skills utilization, opportunities for performance, creativity, autonomy, recognition, responsibility) and an extrinsic satisfaction score (relating to the context of the job, such as supervision, working conditions, promotion, authority, company policy and practices). The MSQ yielded an acceptable internal consistency of 0.90 (Kaplan 1990). The MSQ reliability coefficients for the Intrinsic Satisfaction scale range from 0.84 (for the two assembler groups) to 0.91 for engineers. According to Rothmann, Scholtz and Fourie (2002), Cook, Hepworth, Wall and Warr (1981), the test-retest reliabilities of 0.70 and 0.80 were found over a span of
a week and a year, respectively. A Cronbach’s alpha coefficient of 0.96 was found for total job satisfaction. For the extrinsic satisfaction scale, the coefficients varied from 0.77 to 0.82. On the General Satisfaction Scale, the coefficients varied from 0.87 for assemblers. Median reliability coefficients were 0.86 for intrinsic satisfaction, 0.80 for extrinsic satisfaction and 0.90 for general satisfaction (Weiss et al 1967). The Locus of Control Scale (Rotter 1966) was used to assess the participants’ locus of control orientation. The LCS is a 29-item self-report questionnaire that uses a forced choice format. For each item, individuals have to indicate their preferred choice between two statements reflecting the two loci of control orientations (internal or external). The overall score ranges from 0 to 23, with higher scores reflecting an external LoC (Locus of Control). The range is broken down into the following: scores of 0-3 indicate extreme internal LoC; 4-11 signify healthy internal LoC and 12-23 imply external LoC. The LCS has well-established construct validity. Test-retest reliability over a period of one month was relatively constant with a coefficient alpha of 0.78 (Boone, De Brabander, Gerits & Willemé 1990; Tarver, Canada & Lim 1999). Procedure Using the MSQ20 and the LCS, both self- report questionnaire, and a biographical questionnaire, the participants were identified through a list of call centers in Lipa City areas. Call center Human Resource Manager are approached for permission to conduct research study in their area. Participants were grouped during their breaks to answer the questionnaires. The researcher discussed the instructions clearly. Since there are only 49 items plus a biographical questionnaire, it was expected that the participants will be able to answer the questionnaires during their break periods. If the break period is not enough, then the researcher waited for the next break to be able to get a completely filled up questionnaire to get the required validity of the study. Data analysis The statistical analysis was carried out with the help of Microsoft Excel for the descriptive analysis and for computing the Pearson R correlation with a .05 level of significance. Frequency and percentage distribution are also used to complete the statistical analysis.
Results and Discussion The results regarding the relationship between the job satisfaction and locus of control are reported in the tables below. Overall, there is no significant relation between job satisfaction levels and locus of control.
LoC Internal External
General Job Satisfaction Low Average High TOTAL
12 12.63% 9 16.36% 56 58.95% 19 34.54% 27 28.42% 27 49.09%
95 55 150
Table 1: Frequency and percentage distribution of General Job satisfaction and Locus of Control The table shows us that in general job satisfaction, only 28.42% of the respondents appear to experience a high satisfaction with internal locus of control orientation and more than half of the respondents (58.95%) are with average satisfaction. Call center agents with external locus of control, 49.09% are experiencing a high general job satisfaction.
LoC Internal External
Intrinsic Job Satisfaction Low Average High TOTAL
20 21.05% 12 21.80% 49 51.58% 19 34.54% 26 27.37% 24 43.64 % 95 55
Table 2: Frequency and percentage distribution of Intrinsic Job satisfaction and Locus of Control In intrinsic job satisfaction, 27.37% of respondents with internal locus of control appear to experience a high satisfaction and also, half of the respondents (51.58%) are experiencing an average satisfaction. Forty-four or 43.64% of call center agents with external locus of control are with high intrinsic job satisfaction.
Extrinsic Job Satisfaction Low Average High TOTAL 127
10 10.53% 5 9.09%
35 36.84% 9 16.36%
50 52.63% 41 74.55%
95 55 150
Table 3: Frequency and percentage distribution of Extrinsic Job satisfaction and Locus of Control In external job satisfaction, 52.63% of call center agents with internal locus of control experience a higher satisfaction and 74.55% has a high satisfaction with external locus of control.
Table 4: Correlation Values between Locus of control and Levels of Job Satisfaction (general, extrinsic, intrinsic)
variables Loc General JS n= r= Loc Extrinsic JS n= r= Loc Intrinsic JS n= r= mean 1.366667 0.483509 150 -0.12146 1.366667 1.493333 150 -0.16774 1.366667 1.88 150 -0.21617 1.78 0.73201 1.78 0.673034 StDev 1.78 0.674263
The results in table 4 show that there is no significant correlation between the variables, locus of control and job satisfaction levels (general, extrinsic and intrinsic).
Table 5: Frequency and percentage distribution for Intrinsic Job Satisfaction and Gender, tenure &qualifications
iIntrinsic Job Satisfactionnsic Job
15013033%2943UG UGfrequency1121284 302percentage19%23 %22%20%22%15% AVERAGE Male Female<3>=3CGUGf requency2543599635 percentage44%46%4 5%45%46%38% HIGH MaleFemale<3
1.133333 0.339935 -0.01429
Male 21Female >=3CG>=3CGfrequency7446percentage37%31%35%32%46%Sub Totals57932013713N=150150
The results reported in table 5 indicate female call center agents appear to have lower intrinsic job satisfaction than males. Call center agents with less than three years tenure appear to have lower intrinsic job satisfaction than with those more than three years experience in the call center environment. Undergraduate agents showed a higher level of intrinsic job satisfaction than college graduates. However, there is no significant association was established between these variables.
Table 6: Frequency and percentage distribution for Extrinsic Job Satisfaction and Gender, tenures &qualifications Extrinsic job satisfaction
15060%59%77%Sub Totals5793130128110Male Female<3 LOWMaleFemal e<3>=3CGUGfrquency681
150 1.38 0.485386 0.161348
41150percentage11%9%11 %5%11%15% AVER AGE MaleFemale<3>=3C GUGfrequency2222377413 percentage39%24%28%3 5%30%23% 1.133333 0.339935 -0.12058
HIGH >=3CGUGfrequency296379percentage51%68%61%2013713N=150 The results indicate that females have a higher extrinsic job satisfaction than males. Call center agents with less than three years experience in the call center environment and with undergraduate qualification appear to have a higher extrinsic job satisfaction than with those who have more than three years tenure and college graduate qualifications as shown in table 6. There is also no significant relationship between these variables.
Table 7: Frequency and percentage distribution for Locus of Control and Gender, tenure &qualifications
Locus of Control
150 15015025%4 4%36%14%36%4 6%Sub Totals5793130201 3713N=frequenc
1.133333 0.339935 0.060645
1.086667 0.281346 0.027131
1.38 0.485386 -0.19666
Mean StDev r=
UGfrequency4352 8312887percentag e75%56%64%13% 64%54% GENDE RTENUREQUAL IFICATIONSinte
rnal external>=3C G percentage
Regarding the relationship of Locus of control to gender, tenure and qualifications; results in table 7 indicate that males have higher internal locus of control than females. On the other hand,
respondents with less than three years of exposure to call center work fare better than their more senior colleagues. Also agents who are college graduates show greater internal LoC as compared to those who do not have university degrees. In this result, it also shows that there is no significant relationship between these variables.
LOCUS OF CONTROL AND JOB SATISFACTION Based on the results of data gathered, it was established that individuals that exhibit high internal LoC are more satisfied with their jobs than those with low LoC. Based on the framework for this study, Locus of control is one of the major concepts involved in achieving job satisfaction, since other concepts of the framework are highly dependent on it. Simply put, having people with a more mature and positive outlook towards work puts the company in a fairly comfortable position in as far as guaranteeing job satisfaction is concerned, as compared to having a significant number of pessimistic employees in the workforce. BREAKINGDOWN DEMOGRAPHICS Gender In terms of LoC, results of the study show that males demonstrate higher internal LoC than females (refer to table 7), but results for General Job Satisfaction reveal the latter having higher satisfaction scores than males. At first glance, it would appear that that when considering gender as a variable, the premise that LoC and job satisfaction correlate seem untrue. However, it is not until we consider the types of job satisfaction will these results make sense. Intrinsic Job Satisfaction as defined in this study is the internal or intangible value of work; i.e. type of work, job description, career goals etc. In short, these are the aspects of work, which directly affect how the employee perceives his or herself, which in turn allows the employee to assess his or her value as a person. Taking on this area of job satisfaction in consideration, males fared better than females as far as intrinsic job satisfaction are concerned. The males’ LoC scores affect their intrinsic job satisfaction levels. In this sense, the general aspect of manhood wherein “self-worth” is highly regarded clearly came into play.
Females on the other hand exhibited higher external LoC scores and higher extrinsic job satisfaction levels than males. Extrinsic job satisfaction factors include conditions of work, salary and types of co-workers to name a few. In this aspect, the woman, being the more “expressive” of the two genders thrive on the call center environment’s young, lively and communication-driven atmosphere. Not regarding position or the type of tasks as much as men do, hence, explaining having better extrinsic job satisfaction scores. Tenure Surprisingly, call center agents with less than three years tenure fared better both in LoC scores and job satisfaction levels. It is common knowledge that call center work is a highly stressful job. So it is no surprise that the “younger” group in terms of working experience have better regard of themselves having limited exposure to stress, office politics and overall frustration. Also, compared to their senior counterparts, they have a fresher outlook on work and life in general as their ideals, aspirations and dreams are in a way more vivid and in their perspective, more reachable. Qualifications Amongst the three categories, qualifications had the most variations in terms of LoC and job satisfaction correlation. The study show the college graduates having high internal LoC and just average job satisfaction scores across all types i.e. GJS, IJS and EJS. The results make perfect sense since between the two groups (college graduates and undergraduates); college graduates see themselves beyond their current place at work. Being degree holders, they keep their minds open in as far as other career opportunities are concerned. Undergraduates on the other hand exhibit high external LoC scores and a significantly high extrinsic job satisfaction level. Taking into account the recruiting principles in the Philippines, undergraduates are more often than not, disregarded as candidates for employment opportunities. Hence, being in a position where they can have work, earn considerable salaries which in turn allow them to financially contribute to the family and make something of themselves more than validates the relation between LoC and job satisfaction. The undergraduates take external factors and regard external job facets as enablers for whatever they intend to do in life.
Conclusion The study reveals that there is no positive relationship between locus of control and job satisfaction. However, we should also consider that in the course of analyzing the results, the level of external and internal locus of control somehow affects the kind of job satisfaction an employee is likely to experience. This validates the importance of profiling in the recruitment process. As the results showed, demographics like gender, tenure and qualification provide valuable clues as to what kind of job satisfaction factors (intrinsic or extrinsic) will influence a person’s LoC. Depending on the mentioned demographic factors, respondents exhibited varying LoC-Job Satisfaction profiles. Being able to identify the above will help call center companies to lessen the high level of absenteeism and turnover. This can be done formulating better ways to manage behaviors, anticipate personnel issues, improve working conditions, come up with attractive but cost-effective employee incentive packages and identify applicants to be prioritized for employment. Recommendation The main limitation of this study is the fact that the results were obtained from the sample of call center agents in a particular setting, that is Lipa City, and that this would probably limit the generality of the findings. This study may not be significant however the researcher was able to show that somehow there is a relationship between locus of control (internal and external) and job satisfaction. It is a must for managers, particularly the human resource manager in a call center setting to take a look at this study for them to understand what variables affect the job satisfaction of their employees to lessen absenteeism and the high rate of turnovers. Therefore, it is also recommended that the study be replicated with other samples in various economic sectors and the use of different measuring instruments before drawing conclusion about the relationship between job satisfaction and locus of control variables in the call center environment. Notwithstanding the limitations, the results of this study could serve as a useful source of reference in further research.
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Call Center Agents’ Job Satisfaction and their Intention to Remain in the Agency
Joseph Marion V. Villarruz
This study focuses on call center agents’ work well being and on how it will affect their intention to remain in the agency. The researcher’s instrument for this study was consisted of questions gathered from an existing study that was also concerning about job satisfaction. Questions regarding a worker’s salary, the benefits they get, their workplace, their coworkers, etc. to find out if these factors affect their work well being. At the last part of the test the researcher added a follow up question which ask the agents whether they are looking for a new job at that time. They can answer the question with ayes or no answer. The researcher’s test was administered to 200 call center agents working on different call center agencies in the Alabang area. The results of the study shows that the call center agents who have a high level of job satisfaction which was measured by the 15 item test regarding job satisfaction and gave a no answer to the follow up question, While the call center agents who have a low level of job satisfaction gave a yes answer to the follow up question. This shows that the level of a call center agent’s job satisfaction can affect whether they’re still interested with their job and they intend to stay in the company for a long time or not.
One of the newest and highly lucrative businesses around is the Call Center business. As the saying goes, if there’s a need, there will surely be an opportunity. There will surely be big money to be earned as far as entrepreneurs are concerned. That is why call centers have sprouted not only in Manila but in all key cities around the country. Even big shopping malls already have call centers. Almost everywhere they look there are job openings for call centers. There are also call centers that are equipped with facilities like gym and spa aside from coffee shops and restaurants. That is why it has become some sort of a new craze among the young graduates. The Philippines is now gaining a quick share in the customer-service call center industry, which is a steadfast business in the world today. The outsourcing business is something that is being given importance because this is a huge economic benefit in terms of employment since it had been operating in the country in the year 2000 (Nash, 2005). A call center is a communications-based company which serves as a support system for larger companies in first world countries like the United States. Call or contact centers handle customer complaints and inquiries and provide technical support for a wide array of products and services like electronics, e-mail management, mortgage, insurance, advertising, telecommunications and even volunteer and charity work. People in the highly industrialized countries like the United States tend to turn their backs away from the so called “Marginal Jobs”. These are the kinds of jobs that do not attract people to get into because of the very nature of the job required. Examples of these are the caregivers and the call centers. 137
These jobs require a hundred percent attention and devotion and at the same time it also requires highly irregular working hours. In caregivers, they are “On Call” 24/7. They have to be at the bedside of the patients whenever they need you and these needs are varied so they should be prepared. This particular job demands a considerable amount of time that it deprives them from their leisure time. Thus if they are a working parent, this would surely be a minus factor. Not to mention the fact that citizens in the first world countries can get paid even more as a parking attendant or just being a waiter. Thus they shy away from this because they could get another stable job and still be paid the same or at times, are being paid even more. As a result of which, these countries have sourced out these “Marginal Jobs” to other countries who would be willing to work for them and still come out cost effective on their part as they come out cheaper than getting to pay their own workers to do it for them. By sourcing out these jobs, they only pay on a piece meal basis and they don’t have to worry about paying their laborers social security and health benefits. Thus in the long haul, it even comes out cheaper and more feasible for them. However, Filipino workers are ideal for these marginal jobs like care givers and call center jobs primarily because they are English speaking and are very patient workers. Plus the fact that the pay that they receive if converted into pesos are very competitive indeed in our country. The drawback however is the very irregular working hours that a call center agent has to infuse into their jobs since they have to follow the time zone of the host country they are servicing. An example is the west coast which has a time differential of at least 14 hours. That’s why, call center agents usually goes to work in the afternoon and comes off their shift during the wee hours of the morning. These Irregular working hours are the main reason why there are lots of job mortalities in call centers. After a while, these call center agents just resigns because of stress or other reasons involving this Irregular schedule and they look for another job. That is precisely why the researcher chose this particular topic so that the readers of this study would be able to look deeper into the dynamics of this new business. Part of this study will look into the job satisfaction or formally known as work well being of the employees. It will likewise investigate why in spite of a very “Substantial” amount of salary as compared to other jobs; people who take up this job do not stay too long. What seems to be the cause of the very high mortality rate or turnover of employees? What are the POSITIVE and NEGATIVE factors of the job? Aside from the lucrative pay, what attracts people to get this kind of job? Eventually, this study will be able to illustrate all as vividly as it could, the actual predicament of this particular working class and perhaps the researcher will be able to offer some kind of sound recommendation based on the researcher’s analysis of the problems that would eventually be uncovered in the process of making this paper. Thus, this review could be able to address their problems and perhaps offer solutions to their problems.
The researcher must look into this more thoroughly so that he will be able to nurture this business as this is what our country and economy needs. At present, it not only employs thousands of people, but it likewise help Filipinos stop from going abroad and look for a more lucrative paying job. That way, we help arrest the so called Brain Drain our country is experiencing. This study can be able to help solve this turnover problem. The study may not be able to give the direct solution to this problem but it may be able to give facts, suggestions and recommendations in order for other readers and researchers to clearly understand the nature of this problem. Statement of the problem 1. How can the study be able to help its readers and other researchers? 2. Will this study be able to give the answer to the question “does a call center agent’s work well being effect the time they intend to remain in their agency?” Review of Literature Job satisfaction When a person goes to work, they spend most of our time in the workplace. They go to work five to six days in a week with limited break times. Work can be good for them, but it can also be bad to their health. In addition to physical hazard in the workplace itself, a job can contribute to a person’s level of anxiety or frustration. If they are disappointed in our plans for advancement or dissatisfied with their boss, they are likely to bring their discontentment at home with us at the end of the workday. They then go home feeling tired and frustrated that they may then get angry at their brothers, sisters, someone at home or even our pets. They may then quarrel or even hurt somebody verbally or nonverbally just to relieve their frustration. Another factor is the schedule of the worker, sometimes the worker’s body clock is not used to its working schedule and it can affect the worker’s health especially those who work in night shifts or what they call the “graveyard shift”. Work can sometimes be stressful for some people and may lead into some diseases like colds, fever, or other major diseases like heart disease, ulcers, arthritis, and other psychosomatic illnesses that have been traced to stress and dissatisfaction in the workplace. These diseases may not be good for a worker’s well being. Job satisfaction is a worker's sense of achievement and success. It is generally perceived to be directly linked to productivity as well as to personal well-being. Job satisfaction implies doing a job one enjoys, doing it well, and the state of finding fulfillment in one’s work. Job satisfaction refers to a set of attitudes that employees have about their jobs. Researchers may describe it as the psychological disposition of people toward their jobs and how they feel about the work. This involves a collection of numerous attitudes and feelings (Arvey and Segal, 1998). A study is reported of the variations in organizational commitment and job satisfaction, as related to subsequent turnover in a sample of recently-employed psychiatric technician trainees. A
longitudinal study was made across a 10 1/2 month period, with attitude measures collected at four points in time. For this sample, job satisfaction measures appeared better able to differentiate future stayers from leavers in the earliest phase of the study. With the passage of time, organizational commitment measures proved to be a better predictor of turnover, and job satisfaction failed to predict turnover (Porter, Steers & Boulian, 1973). Workplace Wellbeing Workplace wellbeing (WWB) has been devised as a parallel and complementary construct to SWB. It is defined as the sense of wellbeing that employees gain from their work. It is conceptualised as core affect plus the satisfaction of intrinsic and/or extrinsic work values (Page, 2005). WWB is built upon a foundation of intrinsic and extrinsic work values. The duality of motivation has long been studied by organizational psychologists. Extrinsic motivation refers to the desire to work due to external factors such as pay. Intrinsic motivation refers to a desire to work for the psychological rewards associated with the work itself such as achievement and responsibility. Herzberg (1967, 1973, 1987), one of the pioneering researchers in this area, termed these the hygiene and motivator factors respectively. He believed hygiene factors to be extrinsic to the job, including factors such as company policy, salary, interpersonal relationships, working conditions and supervision. These stimuli induced pain-avoidance behaviour; that is, behaviour that ensured the environment remained comfortable or met basic needs. The motivator factors were thought to be intrinsic to the job such as achievement, recognition for achievement, responsibility and advancement. (Henzberg) Although Herzberg’s two-factor theory has lost favour in recent years, the idea of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation is still popular. As such, the concepts still appear regularly in research, with findings generally supporting the superiority of intrinsic factors in terms of promoting organisationrelated wellbeing. For example, using a sample of health care workers, Randolph (2005) found that intrinsic factors such as professional growth and having a work environment in line with personal values were more significant in predicting job satisfaction and desire to stay on the job than were extrinsic factors such as pay. (Hulin, 2003) Supporting these findings in a Taiwanese sample, Lu (1999) found that intrinsic work factors were positively related to overall job satisfaction while extrinsic factors were positively related to depression. As well as predicting job satisfaction, high intrinsic motivation has been related to the subjective experience of time passing more quickly, a tendency to lose track of time and other general symptoms of high work involvement and interest sustainment or ‘flow’ (Conti, 2001). Indeed, Xiang, Chen and Bruene (2005) found that interest in the activity (or job) was the most important intrinsic factor in predicting future motivation, over and above other intrinsic and extrinsic factors. Health Some organizations are open 24 hours this means that their employees work in shifts whether it is in day or night. The long working hours for these employees may sometimes be unhealthy. They can’t get enough sleep and yet they still work the whole day. This is only one factor that can affect an
employee’s health here are other examples; the working environment, transportation, food, etc. Sometimes these unhealthy factors may be the cause of high turnover rates of some organizations. Shift work is regarded as a risk factor with respect to the health of shift workers; many shift workers are engaged in shift systems for years while coping with associated burdens in their working life. In order to improve shift workers' health and tolerance, recent research points to the importance of multifaceted measures addressing both the effects of disruptions in circadian rhythms, and the actual interferences with daily routines at work.
Call center agents
How long they Intend to remain
Figure 1 The diagram shown illustrates that a call center agent’s job satisfaction can affect the agent’s intention to remain in the industry where he or she is working. The happier people are within their job, the more satisfied they are said to be. Job satisfaction is not the same as motivation, although it is clearly linked. Job design aims to enhance job satisfaction and performance; methods include job rotation, job enlargement and job enrichment. Other influences on satisfaction include the management style and culture, employee involvement, empowerment and autonomous work groups. Job satisfaction is a very important attribute which is frequently measured by organizations. Hypothesis
Work well being or Job satisfaction has been defined as a pleasurable emotional state resulting from the appraisal of one’s job. It is an attitude but points out that researchers should clearly distinguish the objects of cognitive evaluation which are affect (emotion), beliefs and behaviors (Weiss, 2002). Job satisfaction is not the same as motivation, although it is clearly linked. The most common way of measurement is the use of rating scales where employees report their reactions to their jobs. Questions relate to rate of pay, work responsibilities, variety of tasks, promotional opportunities the work itself and co-workers. When a call center agent is not satisfied with his/her work then there is a possibility that he/she would not stay in the agency for a long period of time. That is because they would rather look for other options which would suit their needs. The happier people are within their job, the more satisfied they are said to be.
Participants The study covered 200 respondents who are all working call center agents aged 18 to 25 years old. The researcher chose this age range that is because most of the call center agents are in their adolescent years. All participants were recruited from the Alabang Area particularly in Northgate. The participants were treated with regards to detailed description of the nature of the research study, debriefing, and confidentiality. Instruments Survey Questionnaire The researcher has already gathered 15 items of survey questions on Job satisfaction. These 15 gathered questions were included in the survey questionnaire. A 5 rating scale will be made for each question. It ranges from 1=strongly disagree to 5=strongly agree or in some tests 1=strongly dissatisfied to 5=strongly satisfied, wherein 1 is the lowest and 5 is the highest. The questionnaire consist of questions regarding their level of job satisfaction on some aspects like their salary, the benefits they get, their workplace, their co-workers, etc. to find out if these factors affect their work well being. Questions like “how satisfied are you with how meaningful your work is?” will be included in this material. Questions about health, emotions, and their attitude towards work are also asked. The researcher also included the questions would ask them how long they want to stay in the industry they are working on and are they applying for a new job. Demographics were also included to site some facts about the agent like age and gender. The questionnaire given to the participants is identical it is whether they are male or female. Writing tools (pencil/ball pen) will also be use in the experiment. Design and Procedure The researcher utilized the study with a descriptive research design wherein a survey form was used. The participant’s demographics will also be asked. At the beginning of the semester, the researcher designed a 15 item survey questionnaire including 2 additional questions regarding on how long they intend to stay in their agency and that if they are applying for a new job. This questionnaire consist items that are already gathered by the researcher. The researcher recruited the participants for this study. The participants were consisted of 200 respondents who were all working call center agents. All the respondents were working in and around a call center business industry in the Alabang Area and with ages ranging from 18 to 25 years old, either male or female. Consent forms were administered before the participants answered the survey forms. Survey recruitment ended as it reaches 200. And lastly, the researcher would then tabulate all the answers and date results will be gathered.
Statistical Analysis The means for each factor would then be computed and be used to tabulate the data. Scores were computed and analyzed by correlation. The Microsoft Excel and SPSS program were used for the computation.
Results There are 200 participants of the study, 39 % percent are male and 77 % percent are female. The mean age of the participants is 21. The participants’ demographics are summarized in Figures 2
and 3. Figure 2 displays the demographic distribution of gender while figure 3 displays the demographic distribution of age. The level of job satisfaction of the call center agents were measured by the 15 item test about job satisfaction, the results shows that most of the participants were satisfied with their job that is because most of them have a high level of job satisfaction (Figure 4). The agents who have a high level of job satisfaction answered the question whether they are looking for a new job right now, with a no answer while the call center agents who have a low level of job satisfaction gave a yes answer to the last question. This shows that the level of a call center agent’s job satisfaction can affect whether they’re still interested with their job and they intend to stay in the company for a long time or not. The participants who answered yes were only 14 (7%) while those who answered no were 186 (93%). The researcher has correlated the 15 item survey form which indicates the level of job satisfaction of the call center agents to the yes or no question that asked if they are looking for another job at that time. The results of the correlation were .178 which represents a weak positive association. With a significance of .012 which is significant (Figure 5). For the 186 participants who answered no, there was a question that asked them how long do they intend to stay in the agency, 0 intended to stay less than a month, 62 were willing to stay 1 to 6 months, 117 said they intend to stay for more than 6 months to one year and 7 only stated they want to stay for more than 1 year the table for this results was shown in Figure 5 (Figure 6). The researcher also correlated the no answers to the Question on how long do they intend to stay in the agency. The results of the correlation were .237 which also showed a weak positive association but has a significance of .001 which was also significant (Figure 7).
De mographic distribution of ge nde r
77, 39% Fem ale 123, 61% Male
Table shows the demographic distribution of gender of the participants wherein the female participants are more than the male participants. That is because 61 % percent are female while only 39 % percent are male. Figure 3. Demographic distribution of age
No. of participants 50 40 30 20 10 0 18 yrs 19 yrs 20 yrs 21 yrs 22 yrs 23 yrs 24 yrs 25 yrs old old old old old old old old Participant age 22 13 13 33 34 46 34 22 Series1
This figure shows the number of participants and their corresponding ages. As the table shows most of the participants were above 20 years of age. And the mean age of the participants is 21.
This table shows the number of participants which answered the 15 item survey based on the scale of 1 to 5 wherein 1 as completely dissatisfied (lowest) and 5 as completely dissatisfied (highest). The table shows that most of the answers given by the participants were 3, 4, and 5.
Corre lat ions VAR00001 VAR00001 Pears o n Co rrelat io n 1 Sig. (2- t ailed) . N 200 Pears o n Co rrelat io n .17 8* Sig. (2- t ailed) .012 N 200 VAR00002 .17 8* .012 200 1 . 200
*. Co rrelat io n is s ignif icant at t he 0.05 level (2- t ailed).
Table shows that the correlation was .178 which is has a weak positive association but is also significant because of the .012 significance.
120 100 80 60 40 20 0 0 Less than a month 1-6 months 7 62 Series1 117
more more than 6 than 1 months - year 1 year No. of months/year they tend to stay
Table shows the participants who said they were not looking for a new job and how long they intend to remain in the agency.
VAR00001 VAR00001 Pearson Correlation Sig. (2-tailed) N VAR00003 Pearson Correlation Sig. (2-tailed) N 1 . 200 .237 .001 200 VAR00003 .237 .001 199 1 . 200
*Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (2-tailed).
Table shows that the correlation was .237 which is has a weak positive association but is also significant because of the .001 significance. Discussion 149
The results show that the level of job satisfaction can affect the call center agent’s intention to remain in the agency because most of them have a high level of job satisfaction and most of them are willing to stay in the agency for more than a month or more. The study also showed that when they are already satisfied with their job they do not look for another one. For the call center agents who answered yes to the question whether they are looking for a new job at that time, some of them stated that job they were applying for. Bank staff, Hospital staff, Car salesman and Nurse were the jobs that they were applying for. Conclusion Based on the results the researcher has concluded that when a call center agent is already satisfied with their job, they wouldn’t want to get another job and they would intend to stay in the agency for a long period of time. The level of job satisfaction can affect a call center agent’s intention to remain in the agency that is because all who has a high level of job satisfaction which was most of the participants were also willing to stay in the agency and were not looking for another job. The study showed that the job satisfaction test was significant to the Yes or No question. In short the variables of this study were matched well and showed significant results. Recommendation The researcher would recommend to the readers and other researchers of this study that they can use this research as a guide if they are conducting a research about job satisfaction. That is because this study has already gathered enough data to support the research about a call center agent’s job satisfaction and their intention to remain in the agency. The researcher would also recommend to other researchers that if they are planning to research about a topic related to this study, the researcher suggests that they focus on smaller factors of the study because this study only focuses on job satisfaction as a whole. Smaller factors like salary, shift, workplace, and etc. In that way researchers can really determine the cause of turnover.
http://managementhelp.org http://stress.about.com/od/workplacestress http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/well-being http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-a-call-center.htm http://www.hse.gov.uk/workers http://psycnet.apa.org/index.cfm
1.086667 0.281346 -0.02534 mean StDev r= 1.086667 0.281346 0.010752 1.38 0.485386 -0.02184 Mean StDev r=
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