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Edward Tito M. Bansil
This study identifies the possible effects of job satisfaction with the performance of call center agents outsourcing outbound call and to determine the potential relation of work well being in job productivity and performance, this study asked 150 call center agents on an outbound program to participate. The results showed that there is no relationship between job satisfaction and job performance. This signifies that high job performance of call center agent involved in the research cannot be attributed to job satisfaction. The call center industry is an up-and-coming industry in the Philippines. Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) is regarded as one of the fastest growing industries in the world. The Philippines is also considered as location of choice due to its less expensive operational and labor costs. Call center industry had become one of the most famous and sought after jobs in the country, offering huge income compared to other jobs available in the corporate world, it has became the most striking and the most attractive job for every Filipino.
In these days big salary is the priority for having a job; it is because of the financial stability that the call center industry can provide with high wage that many Filipinos apply for call center companies, presenting high starting salary compared to other companies is also one of the primary reasons why they choose to work for call center companies. Another reason is that call center companies is open for undergraduates, working students and individuals who are looking for a work to start on, meaning having a degree or a college diploma is not a requirement. But can these reasons bring work satisfaction to call center agents? Is a satisfied worker can also be a productive one? Can work satisfaction lead to performance? Or is it that performance leads to work satisfaction? This research aims to answer and create new point of views on such question and ideas. Work satisfaction also known as work well being is defined as the contentment arising out of interplay of employee’s positive and negative feelings toward his or her work. To the worker, job satisfaction brings a pleasurable emotional state that often leads to a positive work attitude and approach, because a satisfied worker is more likely to be creative, flexible, innovative and loyal. Work satisfaction can have severe consequences or effect on a person’s performance at work, and probably on his/her personal life. Job satisfaction is usually linked with motivation, but work satisfaction is more of an attitude and can be related to some feelings of achievement and accomplishment. For the organization, job satisfaction of its workers means a work force that is motivated and committed to high quality performance, increased productivity—the quantity and quality of output per hour worked—seems to be a byproduct of improved
2 quality of working life, studies dating back to Herzberg's (1959) have shown at least low correlation between high morale and high productivity, and it does seem logical that more satisfied workers will tend to add more value to an organization. Unhappy employees, who are motivated by fear of job loss, will not give 100 percent of their effort for very long. Though fear is a powerful motivator, it is also a temporary one, and as soon as the threat is lifted performance will decline. In recent years attention to job satisfaction has become more closely associated with broader approaches to improved job design and work organization, and the quality of working life movement. On the other hand, performance is the work output of an individual or a worker or the productivity of an individual, and it can be measured in various ways such as time of work, the quality of the job and the manner it was attained and other creative and innovative skills he/she used to achieve the result, and other factors to be considered in regards to individual performance, such the desire to do the job or the motivation, the capability to do the job or the ability and the environment or the tools and materials. The call center population is unique because they have several exclusive variations of variables and factors that may determine job satisfaction and performance. Having huge salary but with limited room for advancement and special workplace environment and conditions such as time of work and variation of co-worker age. This study would be able to help call center agents and other researchers in understanding the relationship of job satisfaction to job performance that may help them to know the determinants of job satisfaction and give us an overview regarding the needs of call center agents to further improve their job satisfaction and job performance. This research aims to answer the following questions, is there really a relationship between job satisfaction and job performance? Does being satisfied with your job affect your productivity? Are satisfied employee also productive ones? Figure 1.0 Job Satisfaction and Job Performance JOB PERFORMANCE JOB SATISFACTION -Sales -Quality assurance -Talk time
Determinants: -environment -pay and benefits -promotion
3 Job satisfaction and job performance of call center agents outbound can be stimulated or influenced by certain factors, variables and motivators, the salary and benefits that the company offers, the workplace conditions and environment, (coworkers, communication and supervision) and opportunity for promotion in work is also a factor in regards to one’s level of drive to advance in his/her chosen field. Job satisfaction or work well being is 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, (Weiss, 2002) has argued that job satisfaction is an attitude but points out that researchers should clearly distinguish the objects of cognitive evaluation which are affect (emotion), beliefs and behaviours. This definition suggests that we form attitudes towards our jobs by taking into account our feelings, our beliefs, and our behaviors. The determinants of job satisfaction used in the study (salary and benefits, workplace environment, and room for promotion) is based on the items of the Job Satisfaction Survey by (Spector,1994) to measure and determine job satisfaction. Job performance is a commonly used, yet poorly defined concept in industrial and organizational psychology, the branch of psychology that deals with the workplace. It most commonly refers to whether a person performs their job well. Despite the confusion over how it should be exactly defined, performance is an extremely important criterion that relates to organizational outcomes and success. Among the most commonly accepted theories of job performance comes from the work of (Campbell, 1992) and colleagues. (Campbell, 1992) describes job performance as an individual level variable. That is, performance is something a single person does. The variables; amount of salary and benefits, workplace environment/ conditions and the sense of growth and advancement determine the job satisfaction of an individual can also influence the productivity of individuals in the outbound calls, improving the calls they process. The job performance of the participants in this research has been rated and scored through the key metrics to measure performance for an outbound program, namely sales per week, talk time and quality assurance. In this study, the researcher had identified the probable cause and most common motivators for the job satisfaction of call center agents present in the call center industry. Pay, fringe benefits and contingent rewards, wages do play a significant role in determining of satisfaction, pay is instrumental in fulfilling so many needs. Money facilities the obtaining of food, shelter, and clothing provides the means to enjoy valued leisure interest outside of work. Moreover, pay can serve as symbol of achievement and a source of recognition. Employees often see pay as a reflection of organization. Working conditions, every employee desire good working condition because they lead to greater physical comfort (Ravikumar (MBA project) in the year 1985). The working conditions are important to employees because they can influence life outside of work. If people are require long working hours and overtime, they will have very little felt for their families, friends and recreation outside work. Moreover in terms of
4 coworkers, having friendly and co-operative co-workers is a modest source of job satisfaction to individual employees. The working groups also serve as a social support system of employees. People often used their co-workers as sounding board for their problem of as a source of comfort. On the other hand, Supervision, affects job satisfaction as in each type of supervision; the degree of importance attached to individuals varies. In employee-oriented supervision, there is more concern for people which is perceived favorably by them and provides them more satisfaction. In job oriented supervision, there is more emphasis on the performance of the job and people become secondary. This situation decreases job satisfaction. On the other hand, a promotion to a higher level in an organization typically involves positive changes in supervision, job content and pay. Jobs that are at the higher level of an organization usually provide workers with more freedom, more challenging work assignments and high salary. It is true that individuals seek satisfaction in their jobs in the context of job nature and work environment by they also attach importance to opportunities for promotion that these job offer. If the present job offers opportunity of promotion is lacking, it reduces satisfaction.
Review of Related Literature One of the most studied area in the Industrial Psychology is the relationship between job satisfaction and job performance (Judge et al. 1998) The relationship is described by Landy in (1989) as the “Holy Grail” of Industrial Psychology since it applies to the organization and workplace. There have been other researches linking job performance and job satisfaction and other attitudes have been studied since at least 1939, with the “Hawthorne” studies by Elton Mayo. Job satisfaction is in regard to one's feelings or state-of-mind regarding the nature of their work. Job satisfaction can be influenced by a variety of factors, e.g. the quality of one's relationship with their supervisor, the quality of the physical environment in which they work, degree of fulfillment in their work, etc. Job satisfaction defines as “the amount of over-all positive affect (or feeling) that individuals have toward their jobs”. (Hugh and Daniel, 1996) Job satisfaction Job satisfaction is the amount of pleasure or contentment associated with a job. If you like your job intensely, you will experience job satisfaction. If you dislike your job intensely you will experience job dissatisfaction. (DuBrins, 2002) These are some ideas
5 of individuals, who showed interest in defining job satisfaction and how it affects an individual and how is this achieved. Job satisfaction is a function of satisfaction with different aspects of job, i.e. supervision, pay, works, itself, coworkers, promotion, etc., and of the particular weighting or importance one attaches to these respective components. The study of job satisfaction is a relatively recent phenomenon. It can perhaps be said to have begun in earnest with the famous Hawthorne studies conducted by Elton Mayo at the western Electronic Company in 1920s during the course of investigations. However they become convinced that factors of a social nature were affecting satisfaction with the job and productivity. Since the Hawthorne studies there has been an enormous output of work on the nature, causes and correlates of job satisfaction. The traditional model of job satisfaction is that it consists of the total body of feelings that an individual has about his job. This total body of feelings involves, in effect, weighting up the sum total of influences of the job, the nature of job itself, pay, the promotion prospects, the nature of supervision and so on. Where the sum total of influences gives rise to feelings of satisfactions the individual is job satisfied, where in total they give rise to feelings of job dissatisfaction the individual is job dissatisfied. Improving any one of these influences will lead in the direction of job satisfaction, making less satisfactory any one of the influences will lead in the direction of the job dissatisfaction. However, what makes a job satisfying does not depends only on the nature of the job, but on the job expectations that individuals have of what their job should provide. Expectancy theory points to the importance of the individual’s expectations of his job in determining job satisfaction. For individuals who have expectations that their job should give them opportunities for pay, challenge, a failure of the job to meet this expectation will lead to dissatisfaction compared to a situation where no such expectation is involved. For many years managers generally have believed that a satisfied worker is necessarily a good worker. In other works if management could keep all the employees “HAPPY”, good performance would automatically follow. Charles Greene has suggested that many managers subscribe to this be life because it represent “the path of least residence”. Greene’s thesis is that if a performance problem exists, increasing an employee’s happiness is for more pleasant than discussing with the worker his or her failure to meet standards, although happiness eventually results from satisfaction, this goes much deeper and is far less tenuous than happiness. (Ravikumar (MBA project) in the year 1985). Job performance Job performance or Job productivity is most commonly refers to whether a person performs their job well. Despite the confusion over how it should be exactly defined, performance is an extremely important criterion that relates to organizational outcomes and success.
6 Job satisfaction and Job performance The relationship between job satisfaction and productivity, a happy worker is a productive worker which establishes a direct cause-effect relationship between job satisfaction and productivity; when job satisfaction increases, productivity increases; when satisfaction decreases, productivity decreases. The basic logic behind this is that a happy worker will put more efforts for job performance. However, this may not be true in all cases. For example, a worker having low expectations from his jobs may feel satisfied but he may not put his efforts more vigorously because of his low expectations from the job. Therefore, this view does not explain fully the complex relationship between job satisfaction and productivity. Organ (1988) found that the job performance and job satisfaction relationship follows the social exchange theory; employees’ performance is giving back to the organization from which they get their satisfaction. Judge et al. (2001) argued that there are seven different models that can be used to describe the job satisfaction and job performance relationship. Some of these models view the relationship between job satisfaction and job performance to be unidirectional, that either job satisfaction causes job performance or vice versa. Another model states that the relationship is a reciprocal one; this has been supported by the research of (Wanous,1974). In Judge et al. (2001), it was found by Brayfield and Crockett (1955) “that there is only a minimal relationship between job performance and job satisfaction”. However, since 1955, Judge et al. (2001) cited that there are other studies by Locke (1970), Schwab & Cummings (1970), and Vroom (1964) “that have shown that there is at least some relationship between those variables”. Synthesis From the literature discussed by previous studies and research, job satisfaction is an important part in Industrial psychology, the branch of Psychology which aims to explain the attitudes and behavior of individuals in an organization or in a workplace, job satisfaction can give us an overview of what motivates a worker or what are the certain things that give them “satisfaction” or “contentment” in the workplace. Determining the Job performance of an employees is also an important tool in monitoring the productivity rate of an employee, determining how they do their job, how they react on different situations and how productive are the amount of work they provide. Because of the fast rise of the call center industry and the demand for call center agents in the Philippines, they have used certain performance metrics and scoring methods to monitor the job performance of an individual. The call center companies need to observe job satisfaction of call center agents in an outbound program to know if they have to improve some aspects of their management
7 to ensure the call center agents are satisfied with their work to also ensure the quality of work they provide. This study comes with the questions such as, does a satisfied worker also a productive worker? Or is there any relation to job satisfaction and job performance, and if there is any, how efficient are the results of the two variables.
Method Research Design Quantitative type of research was applied in this research, because the study aims to discover the relationship of job satisfaction with job performance, and the study relies on the number of participants to have a more reliable result. A survey questionnaire was used to gather needed data (Spector 1994). Participants The participants of this research comprised of employees in the call center agents in an outbound program. They will be given the freedom to refuse participating anytime if they choose to. The number of participants surveyed was 150 outbound call center agents (N=150). Alabang and Makati area are the primary venues to conduct this study. Materials The researcher used the 1994 Job Satisfaction Survey by Paul E. Spector of University of South Florida. The 36 item survey measures employees’ attitude towards work. An example item goes like this “I feel I am being paid a fair amount for the work I do” this item is to determine whether they are satisfied for the wage they are having. Respondents indicate their rating for each item wherein, 1= disagree very much, 2= disagree moderately, 3= disagree slightly, 4= agree slightly, 5= agree moderately, 6= agree very much. They are given the score 3 for satisfied employees, 2 for ambivalent employees and dissatisfied employees are rated 1, the ratings are based on the raw scores of employees if they show job satisfaction they are rated 1, if their scores fall in the ambivalent raw scores they are rated 2 and 3 for employees who falls for the dissatisfied. The job performance metrics were provided by the call center company to measure job performance and productivity. The Job Satisfaction Survey focuses primarily on the determining how satisfied the employee’s are based on salary, workplace environment and conditions and room for advancement or growth present in the company.
8 As for the job performance metrics, the researcher used the key metrics for outbound program of a huge call center company, the rating was based on three basic criteria observed in an outbound program: sales per week, talk time and quality. The sales per week is expected to be 5 per week or 1 per day depending on the account being handled by the call center agents, Talk time is expected to be at least 2 hours per week also depending on the call center agent and the account being handled. The last criteria is the quality assurance of the call center agent, it is observed to be at least 80%. The Coverage is three months (i.e. January-March). The average for the quarter is the basis of the agent’s score. Promotion is based on a two consecutive quarter performance. The agent must not average below 2.25 for two consecutive quarters to be promoted and must not have any metric with a score of below 2.0 (passing grade).Quality is measured based on the selling process of the department. Sales-per-week is the very basic metric that is measured and is measured in all departments. It also varies according to the department that you are into and also varies according to your agent level. Same with Talk Time, it is measured according to your agent level. Everything is measured and scored based on the average for the quarter. The overall performance score will be rated, 3 being the highest grade and 1 being the lowest, wherein an agent’s score will be from 1, 1.25, 1.5, 2, 2.25, 2.5, 2.75 and 3. Procedures Alabang and Makati area are the target location to find call center companies. Call center agents on outbound program is requested to participate in answering the Job satisfaction survey by Paul E. Spector, consent form that was signed by the respondent and the researcher in compliance to the agreed confidentiality and ethical matters regarding the results and data collected. The respective Job performance metrics of the call center company is used to measure the relevance of both variables, they are given the choice to refuse participation if they want to, once they affirm, they are given full consent and information about the study and briefing of ethical issues and the confidentiality of results, basic information about the participant such as name (optional), age, gender and contact number was filled up by the respondents, all questions will be based upon the relation and relevance of job satisfaction. Next step was to administer the job satisfaction survey questionnaires by Paul E. Spector to participants who agreed to participate, and they were observed while answering the survey questionnaire, upon finishing, the researcher discussed what the research is all about and acknowledgement of their valuable support and assistance followed. All job satisfaction questions is based upon the 1994 Job satisfaction survey by Paul E. Spector and job performance of participants will be measured in accordance to the job performance metrics that was requested from the call center company itself
Statistical Analysis The final step was to tabulate data collected and interpret the results. Scores was computed and analyzed by correlation. The SPSS program was used for the computation using the Pearson correlation to determine if job satisfaction and job performance are related.
Presentation of Data Figure 2 Job satisfaction
Figure 2 shows the Job satisfaction of 150 call center agents. It illustrates that 102 participants or 68% had high job satisfaction, rated 3 for satisfied employees, while 30 participants or 20% were dissatisfied with their current job, rated 1 for job satisfaction, 18 participants or 12% were ambivalent or unsure with their satisfaction, rated 2 for job satisfaction. The graph explains that they are somehow contented with their salary and how they are managed. Three aspects of an organization can be classified to stimulate job satisfaction, salary and benefits of employees, this can certainly give contentment to an employee especially when they provide high salary to employees and the benefits are well discussed and well observed for the call center agents. The next one is the room for advancement or growth of an employee, if there is enough room for advancement or promotion in the company, employees will feel some sense of personal motivation to perform their work well. Work environment is also a determinant of job satisfaction, the coworkers, communication in the organization, and supervision, this may give some sort
10 of comfortable environment to work on since having good place to work on can give you a comfortable feeling and sense of belongingness with coworkers. Figure 3 Satisfaction on Salary and benefits
Figure 3 illustrates the satisfaction of call center agents with their salary and benefits, it shows that 108 participants or 72% percent of the 150 call center participants is satisfied with the Pay and benefits they are receiving while 42 participants or 28% of those who answered the job satisfaction survey is dissatisfied with the amount of pay and benefits they are receiving. The graph illustrates the approach of an individual towards the pay and benefits they are having, because call center companies offer high amount of pay to their employees. A company must discuss all the terms and privileges of their salary and benefits system, they should observe and discuss it with their employees, from the salary of an employee if he/she does this certain job and also in terms of position in the company.
11 Figure 4 Satisfaction on workplace environment
The figure above shows the satisfaction of call center agents with the workplace environment, coworkers, communication and how are they supervised. It explains that 99 participants or 66% of the 150 respondents is satisfied with their workplace environment, coworkers, the way they are supervised and communication in their department, while 51 respondents or 34% of the 150 call center agents who answered the Job satisfaction survey by Paul E. Spector has low satisfaction regarding the environment of the job they are in, with their coworkers, communication and how they are supervised. This graph gives us an idea about how workplace environment, the coworker treatment, communication and supervision are important factors to determine the satisfaction of an employee towards his/her job, when a workplace is not comfortable to work on, and the coworkers are not communicating well it is much harder to perform or to work well, it is uncomfortable and it may lead to dissatisfaction. When an individual is comfortable or happy with what they do and how they do it, they are somehow contented and satisfied with their work.
12 Figure 5 Satisfaction on promotion
Figure 5 shows the satisfaction of the 150 respondents towards the room for promotion and opportunities in their company, it illustrates that 87 individuals or 58% of the 150 call center agents are satisfied with the promotion opportunities in their company, while 63 participants or 42% of the respondents who answered the Job satisfaction survey by Paul E. Spector is not satisfied with the opportunities that the company give them. This shows that in the corporate world, promotion and advancement is a vital motivator to have job satisfaction, every individual search for inner fulfillment in their line of work, even if there is politics or not, every individual is happy when their efforts are valued and appreciated. Figure 6 Job performance
13 Figure 5.0 illustrates the job performance of the 150 call center agents in percentage, labeled in high job performance and low job performance. The figure shows that 132 respondents or 88% has a high job performance scored thru the job performance metrics, their performance score ranging from 2, 2.25, 2.5, 2.75 and 3, while 18 respondents or 12% averages a low performance in their work, their performance rating averages from 1, 1.25, 1.5, and 1.75, all based on the job performance metric scale for call center agents in an outbound program, provided by the E-telecare Global Solutions. They are scored in accordance thru three (3) aspects, sales per week, talk time and quality, although these three varies depending on the account they are handling. Job performance or productivity is described by John B. Campbell as an individual level variable. That is, performance is something a single person does. This differentiates it from more encompassing constructs such as organizational performance or national performance which are higher level variables. Table 1.0 Correlation of job satisfaction and job performance Correlations Job satisfaction job satisfaction Pearson Correlation Sig. (2-tailed) N Pearson Correlation Sig. (2-tailed) N 1.000 151.000 -.053 .520 151 Performance rating -.053 .520 151 1.000 151.000
The results show that there is no significant relationship between job satisfaction and job performance. (r= -.053, p>.05) It shows that having high job satisfaction does not lead to job performance. Discussion According to the results, there is no significant relationship between job satisfaction and job performance although the data presents, 102 or 68% of the participants are satisfied with their jobs while 132 participants or 88% of the total population averages passing or high marks on the job performance scale.
14 Job satisfaction is defined as the amount of overall positive effect or feeling that individuals have towards their jobs (Arnold and Feldman, 1998). This states that job satisfaction or job well being is an emotional state that an employee has on their work, Job satisfaction could somehow be achieved thru motivators or determinants that can give you an emotional state or feeling with your job. Job satisfaction is the amount of pleasure or contentment associated with a job. If you like your job intensely you will experience high job satisfaction, if you dislike your job intensely you will experience job dissatisfaction (DuBrins, 2002). This explains that job satisfaction is determined by whether you like or dislike your job, as influenced by the environment you are working to, how the coworkers treat you, of there is good communication in the office and how you are supervised by the superiors, job satisfaction is explained as how you “like” the job. When one is comfortable or happy with whatever he/she does, he/she experiences contentment or satisfaction. Motivation can be seen as an inner force that drives individuals to attain personal and organization goals (Judge et al., 1988 p.133). This statement provides us the idea that motivators can stimulate job satisfaction, in this case the motivator is the promotion or the opportunity for higher position, an employee aiming for a better position in the organization is more likely to perform well and keep his/her performance in the expected or at the above standard range, if there is enough room for promotion in a company the employees will feel that their efforts are valued and that the company needs them, the feeling of a certain personal achievement is also prevalent. It does not mean that the job satisfaction has no impact on productivity. A satisfied worker may not necessarily lead to increased productivity but a dissatisfied worker leads to lower productivity (Ravikumar (MBA project) in the year 1985). In the Philippine setting, having a job is a necessity, it is everyone’s goal to provide for their family and their needs. This study gives us the idea that regardless of satisfaction with their jobs, call center agents on an outbound program is motivated or driven to perform their jobs because they have to keep their jobs since it is hard to find a stable and dependable job these days. This means that, call center agents maybe unssatisfied with their jobs but could be motivated to perform better. Factors such as supporting a family or the difficulty of finding another job motivate them to perform well in their duties. This means that there is no significant relationship between job satisfaction and job performance of call center agents on an outbound program. Regardless of whether they are satisfied or not, call center agents would perform better if they are motivated by certain factors. Conclusions Based on the data gathered, the researcher concludes that there is no significant relationship between job satisfaction and job performance, employees can still maintain
15 passing marks or high grades on their job performance metrics regardless if they are satisfied with the job they have. Researcher also concluded that most of the participants are motivated by the motivators, salary (benefits), workplace environment and promotion. Unsatisfied employees still achieve passing marks or high grades on the performance scale, and being satisfied does not necessarily give you high job performance. The results show that 30 participants or 20% of the population were dissatisfied with their job probably because of their expectations on the salary they should receive the position in the organization they believe they should be in and the workplace environment they need or wanted, yet they still manage to perform well in their jobs. This concludes that Job satisfaction does not affect job performance, and that motivator’s give the employee more drive to perform well regardless of satisfaction with their work. The researcher concludes that most of the call center employees are satisfied with their job, in terms of their salary, the workplace environment they are in and almost half of the total population is satisfied with the promotional opportunities of their company, since the correlated raw scores of the dissatisfied and satisfied employees and their job performance scores shows that there is no significant relationship, the researcher concludes that either satisfied or not, the performance still varies on the individual’s drive to perform well and how they want to keep their jobs. Recommendation After reviewing the data gathered, the researcher recommends that call center companies should maintain their employees satisfied by providing factors that motivates the employees, the companies should also aim to improve the well being of their employees and call center companies should observe the job satisfaction of their employees by regularly evaluating them to measure job satisfaction, in order for them to be aware of the situations and reactions that their employees have, in the long run they would probably produce satisfied workers that performs well, to help them with their future improvement. The researcher also recommends the call center agents to observe their job well being for themselves, they should keep their management aware of their wants and needs in order for them to perform well in their line of work. To the call center industry that they maintain the satisfaction of their employees, this would keep their employees satisfied and it would decrease the amount of employee turnover. For future researchers this would provide them with a basis for future studies related to the topic.
16 References Buchanan, K. (2007), http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=kadence_buchanan Campbell, J. P. (1990). Modeling the performance prediction problem in industrial and organizational psychology. Handbook of Industrial and Organizational Psychology, 687732. Doll, R. E., & Gunderson, E. K. E. (1969). Occupational group as a moderator of the job satisfaction-job performance relationship. Journal of Applied Psychology, 53, 359-361. Moshavi, D. & Terborg, J.R. (2002). The job satisfaction and performance of contingent and regular customer service representatives: A human capital perspective. International Journal of Service Industry management, 13(4), 333-347. Weiner, B. (1974). Achievement motivation and attribution theory. Morristown, NJ: General Learning Press. Maslow, A. (1954). Motivation and personality. New York:Harper. Spector, P.E. (1997). Job satisfaction: Application, assessment, causes, and consequences. London: Sage Publications Zadow A. (2001). A study of the relationship between job satisfaction and work performance in South Australian Contracted occupational rehabilitation providers, University of South Australia,August 23, 2001. Zulueta F. & De Lara G. Human Behavior in organizations.
The Relationship of Job Satisfaction and Job Performance among Call Center Agents with Undergraduate Degrees in Nursing
Martin David B. Bellen
The study investigated the relationship of job satisfaction and job performance among call center agents with undergraduate degrees in nursing (N = 60). The academic course was selected exclusively as a norm group for the analysis of the relationship. A unified framework was stipulated to examine the reciprocal relationship of job satisfaction and job performance. The study used the twenty-one scales of the Minnesota Satisfaction Questionnaire and the thirteen scales of a call center company’s metrics as variables. Conclusively, results showed that nineteen agents had an average level of satisfaction and fortyone agents had a high level of satisfaction. One agent had a needs improvement rating in performance, twenty-three agents had a low expectations rating in performance, thirty-three agents had a meets expectations rating in performance, and three agents had a high meets expectations rating in performance. Contrary to expectations, the variables do not demonstrate a convincing effect on the satisfactionperformance relationship. Notably, Pearson product-moment correlation coefficient revealed that job satisfaction and job performance were insignificantly related to each other (r = .04, p > .05).
Pursuing an undergraduate degree in nursing has been a trend in the Philippines for recent years. People in the country have been enrolling in schools that offer the popular health care course, the phenomenon caused by the current global nursing shortage that is expected to last indefinitely (Buchan, 2004). Most of the immediate and apparent causes of the deficiency include short staffing in hospital and nursing administration, poor work conditions, inadequate resources for nursing research and education, aging nursing workforce, expanding career options for women, predominantly female nature of nursing, increasing complexity of health care and care technology, and rapidly aging populations in developed countries. In the United States of America, the nursing scarcity is tremendously severe that a small number of hospitals have been compelled to close some floors while many other institutions are forced to implement desperate measures including outrageous bonuses, higher salaries, and appealing benefits to attract new hires. Guevarra (2003) suggests that these dramatic responses have caused interest among members of the Filipino community. Consequently, the Philippines has become one of the favorite hunting grounds for health workers by other developed nations. Recently, Great Britain has been recruiting Filipino nurses frantically to fill their nursing needs. From all indications, the British are incredibly satisfied with the diligence, proficiency, and competence of these health practitioners. Many more Filipino professionals are expected to leave their country for more beneficial conditions in Europe (Guevarra, 2003). Local government figures report that 13,536 nurses left for 31 countries in 2001. In the first quarter alone of the succeeding year, 2,908 Filipino nurses left for 21 countries. Although the number went down to 7,768 in 2005, an approximate of 15,000 nurses leave the Philippines each year to seek jobs abroad (Tan, 2007).
Tan (2007) says the annual outflow of Filipino nurses is now three times greater than the annual production of licensed nurses of 6,500 to 7,000 a year. Because of the demand created by the ageing of populations in the industrialized world in the next 10 to 15 years, the Vice Chancellor for Research at the University of the Philippines and Executive Director of the National Institutes of Health Philippines said: ''It will no longer be the roller coaster demand for foreign graduate nurses seen in the last 35 years. This time, it will be a persistent, chronic need." The solution for these countries: hire foreign nurses to do the job. The United States has said it would need around 10,000 nurses a year, while Britain, Ireland, the Netherlands and other European countries would need another 10,000 nurses a year. Austria, Norway, and Japan have announced their needs for foreign nurses and have opened their doors a few years ago. Buhat (2004) states that nurses go overseas because of the low salary at home, lack of professional opportunities, adventure, family ties, citizenship and health reasons. Nonetheless, what happens to those health workers who share the same concerns but are unable to leave their homeland due to several complications? Some are hired on private and government hospitals, not many remain unemployed, while others consider finding work outside of their profession which includes another rising industry in the Philippines – call centers. Call centers or contact centers are physical places where customer and other telephone calls are handled by an organization, usually with some amount of computer automation. Typically, a call center has the ability to handle a considerable volume of calls at the same time, to screen calls and forward them to someone who can handle them, and to log calls. Call centers are used by mail-order catalog organizations, telemarketing companies, computer product help desks, and any other corporations that use the telephone to sell products and offer various services. The Philippines is considered as a favorable location by global firms due to its less expensive operational and labor costs. Moreover, the industry mainly accommodates markets from the U.S., United Kingdom, Australia, and other western countries therefore call center agents are obliged to acquire the foreign accent and to study the geography and cultural mores of these foreign countries. Having the reputation as the third largest English-speaking nation in the world with a high literacy rate, the Philippines is considered as one of the most competitive call center destinations in the globe. According to the Contact Center Association of the Philippines (CCAP), an estimated 275,000 people in the Philippines are currently hired in call centers and growth rate is touted at 15 percent every year. Fermo (2005) suggests that there are a lot of nurses now employed in these call centers. Looking forward, are Filipino nurses satisfied with their current jobs as call center agents? Are they performing highly as expected by their clients, supervisors, and employers? Are their satisfaction levels related to their performance outputs and are they
19 the same in reverse? These concerns prompted the conceptualization of the study. The study focuses on the reciprocal relationship of job satisfaction and job performance of health professionals working as call center agents in Alabang, Muntinlupa. Studies of this nature may be instrumental in helping administrators to better meet the needs of these registered and licensed nurses employed in their organizations, which may have implications for services delivery. Figure 1.0: Job Satisfaction and Job Performance are Reciprocally Related Job Satisfaction Job Performance
General Satisfaction Scale of the Minnesota Satisfaction Questionnaire
Monthly Total Agent Score of the Service Desk Performance Scorecard
Models of the reciprocal relationship between job satisfaction and job performance have no distinct theoretical foundation. Rather, they are hybrid models of two approaches (job satisfaction causes job performance and the latter causes the former) ostensibly accepted by those who believe that both theoretical explanations are plausible, that performance can be both satisfying and, in turn, caused by satisfaction. Although reciprocal models may well find unique justification in each literature, further theoretical groundings seems important. For example, if the relationship is reciprocal, how does the reciprocation work? A dynamic model seems necessary to firmly ground such an approach, yet the study is aware of no dynamic models in the literature. Perhaps Cote and Morgan (2002) came the closest to an elucidation of a dynamic model in their attempt to adapt Judge et al.’s (2001) model to the satisfaction-performance relationship. Five studies have investigated the possibility of a reciprocal relationship between job satisfaction and job performance. In these studies, job satisfaction and job performance are related either in a cross-sectional non-recursive causal model, or in a cross-lagged correlational model, where Time 2 job satisfaction is regressed on Time 1 job satisfaction and Time 1 job performance, and Time 2 job performance is regressed on Time 1 job performance and Time 1 job satisfaction. Two of these studies (Brief, 2002; Fisher, 2000) have suggested that job performance leads to job satisfaction but not in reverse. Two other studies provided some support for a reciprocal relationship (mutual causal effects between job satisfaction and job performance). Specifically, Saari and Judge’s (2004) study yielded partial support for a reciprocal relationship; Mount and Johnson’s (2006) found support for a reciprocal relationship, but it depended on the type of satisfaction – for intrinsic satisfaction, satisfaction to performance, whereas for
20 intrinsic satisfaction, performance to satisfaction. Finally, Rode (2004) found no significant causal effect in either direction. Some of these studies were cross-sectional (e.g., Brief, 2002; Fisher, 2000). Although the results of these studies are somehow inconsistent four of the five studies suggest a causal effect of job performance on job satisfaction, and two of the five suggest a causal effect of job satisfaction on job performance. Finally, Ostroff (1992) noted that one possible reason that the satisfactionperformance relationship has not been substantiated is that researchers have considered the relationship solely at the individual level of analysis. The individual analysis, Ostroff argued, may be too restrictive in the way that performance is measured because it fails to take into account the wide range of behaviors individuals may enact in response to (dis)satisfaction. Ostroff found significant correlations between average teacher job satisfaction in a school district and numerous indicators of school district effectiveness (student test scores, drop-out rate, vandalism costs, student satisfaction, teacher turnover). In several other studies, all of which were completed in the same educational context, Ostroff and colleagues have revealed reliable relations between job satisfaction and job performance at the organizational level (Ostroff, 1993; Ostroff & Schmitt, 1993) Recently, Harter and Creglow (1998) linked overall satisfaction to various indicators (customer satisfaction, profitability, productivity, turnover) of the performance of a variety of business units.
Review of Related Literature Job satisfaction has been described as a pleasurable emotional state resulting from the appraisal of one’s job (Locke & Weiss, 2001); an effective reaction to one’s job (Cranny, Smith, & Stone 1992); and an attitude towards one’s job (Weiss, 2002). Weiss has argued that job satisfaction is an attitude but points out that researchers should clearly differentiate the objects of cognitive evaluation which are affect (emotion), beliefs, and behaviors (Weiss 2002). This definition suggests that we form attitudes towards our jobs by taking into account our feelings, our beliefs, and our behaviors. In contrast, job performance is a concept used customarily yet defined inadequately in industrial and organizational psychology – the branch of psychology that deals with the workplace. It most commonly relates to whether a person performs his/her job well or not. Regardless of the confusion over how it should be exactly defined, performance is an exceedingly important criterion that refers to organizational outcomes and success. Among the most commonly acknowledged theories of job performance comes from the work of John P. Campbell and colleagues (Campbell, 1990) (Campbell et al., 1993). Coming from a psychological perspective, Campbell describes job performance as an individual level variable. It means, performance is something a single person does. This differentiates it from more encompassing constructs such as organizational performance or national performance which are higher level variables.
21 Another way to divide up performance is in terms of task and contextual (citizenship and counterproductive) behaviors (Borman & Motowidlo, 1993). Whereas task performance describes obligatory behaviors, contextual behaviors are behaviors that do not fulfill specific aspects of the job’s required role. Citizenship behaviors are defined as behaviors which contribute to the goals of the organization through their effect on the social and psychological conditions (Rotundo & Sackett, 2002). Counterproductive behaviors, on the other hand, are intentional actions by employees which circumvent the aims of the organization (Sackett & DeVore 2001). The study of the relationship between job satisfaction and job performance is one of the most respected and valued research traditions in industrial-organizational psychology. This linkage has been coined as the “Holy Grail” of industrial psychologists (Landy, 1989). Interest in the connection between workplace attitudes and productivity goes back at least as far as the Hawthorne studies (Roethlisberger & Dickson, 1939) and the topic remains to be written today. Additionally, the subject has not lacked for qualitative (Brayfield & Crockett, 1955; Herzberg, Mausner, Peterson, & Capwell, 1957; Locke, 1970; Schwab & Cummings, 1970) or quantitative (Iaffaldano & Muchinsky, 1985; Petty, Mc-Gee, & Cavender, 1984) reviews. There have been two meta-analyses of the job satisfaction-job performance relationship. Petty et al. (1984) provided a limited meta-analyses of the job satisfactionjob performance relationship. These authors confined their analyses to 16 studies that were published in five journals from 1964 to 1983 and that included a measure of overall job satisfaction. Correcting the correlations for unreliability in job satisfaction and job performance. Petty et al. reported a mean corrected correlation of .31 between the constructs. In interpreting their results, Petty et al. concluded, “The results of this study reveal a stronger satisfaction-performance relationship than had been suggested by qualitative reviews, and perhaps because of the limited scope of the meta-analysis, this correlation is rarely cited by those currently investigating the satisfaction-performance relationship. At about the same time as the Petty et al. (1984) review, Iaffaldano and Muchinsky (1985) conducted a more comprehensive meta-analysis of the job satisfaction-job performance literature. Meta-analyzing 217 correlations from 74 studies, they found a substantial range in satisfaction-performance correlations across the job satisfaction facets, ranging from a mean true score correlation of .06 for pay satisfaction to .29 for overall job satisfaction. For their primary analysis, Iaffaldano and Muchinsky averaged the facet-performance correlations and reported an average true score correlation of .17 between job satisfaction and job performance. In discussing their findings, the authors only made reference to the .17 correlation, concluding that job satisfaction and job performance were “only slightly related to each other” (p.269). The Iaffaldano and Muchinsky (1985) study provided many advances. Most important, their quantitative review avoided the imprecision and subjectivity of earlier qualitative reviews and was more comprehensive than the Petty et al. (1984) metaanalysis.
Methods Research Design The study utilized the quantitative approach of research. It was selected because it provides a systematic investigation of the relationship of job satisfaction and job performance. This type of research also uses scientific methods that include generation of models, theories and hypotheses, usage of instruments and methods for measurement, collection of empirical data, modeling and analysis of data, and evaluation of results. Participants A sample, consisting of 60 call center agents, was identified through a referral from its employer – a private call center company. The population was homogeneous, consisting entirely of Filipinos. All agents, 30 males and 30 females, have undergraduate degrees in nursing. The agents, aged 21 to 30 years old, have been working in the company for a range of 1 month to 53 months. Locale of the study The study took place in a private call center company in Alabang, Muntinlupa, Philippines. The researcher conveniently chose from five companies, all located in the same area. Instruments Minnesota Satisfaction Questionnaire. The Minnesota Satisfaction Questionnaire (MSQ) was designed to measure an employee’s satisfaction with his or her job. Three forms are available: two long forms (1977 version and 1967 version) and a short form. The MSQ provides more specific information on the aspects of a job that an individual finds rewarding than do more general measures of job satisfaction. The MSQ is useful in exploring client vocational needs, in counseling follow-up studies, and in generating information about the reinforcers in jobs. Long-Form MSQ (1977 version). The long-form MSQ (1977 version) was selected among the available three forms of the MSQ for the reason that it provides more information for the additional time that it requires. It consists of 100 items. Each item refers to a reinforcer in the work environment. The agent indicates how satisfied he is with the reinforcer on his present job. Five response alternatives are presented for each item: “Very Dissatisfied; Dissatisfied; Neither (dissatisfied nor satisfied); Satisfied; and
23 Very Satisfied.” The long-form measures job satisfaction on 20 five-item scales: ability utilization, achievement, activity, advancement, authority, company policies and practices, compensation, co-workers, creativity, independence, security, social service, social status, moral values, recognition, responsibility, supervision – human relations, supervision technical, variety, and working conditions. Additionally, a 20-item general satisfaction scale is also scored. Hand-Scoring Form for the MSQ. The hand-scoring form for the MSQ was used for the interpretation of the results. Service Desk Performance Sorecard. The Service Desk performance scorecard is a thirteen-scale metrics designed to measure an employee’s performance in a monthly basis. The 13 scales of the scorecard are grouped in two major categories: principles or competencies and goals. Operating principles or competencies account for 25% of the scorecard and include these 8 scales: create a wining culture, treat everyone with respect and dignity, act with integrity, contribute to team success, lead by example, make a difference in the customer experience, communication, and technical acumen. Moreover, combined goals account for 75% of the scorecard and include these 5 scales: first call resolution, call evaluation, customer satisfaction, service level, and schedule adherence. Samples and interpretations of the long-form MSQ (1977 version), hand-scoring form for the MSQ, and Service Desk performance scorecard appear in the APPENDIX. Procedure Job Satisfaction The respondents were notified about the scope of the study and were asked to answer the long-form MSQ (1977 version) during their lengthy office breaks. The form is self-administering and is appropriate for individuals who can read at the fifth grade level or higher. There is no time limit for the MSQ. However, the respondents were encouraged to answer the questions rapidly. Experience with the long-form MSQ indicates that the average employee can complete the questionnaire from 15 to 20 minutes. The shortest time observed in an employed group was about ten minutes. The slowest individual took about 30 minutes. The respondents returned the surveys after their breaks. Job Performance Although the monthly total agent score of every respondent was provided by the call center corporation, specific scores of the components in the Service Desk Performance Scorecards were not included to adhere to company protocol.
24 Data Analysis Firstly, job satisfaction was measured by a 100-item index called the long-form MSQ developed by Weiss, Dawis, England, & Lofquist (1967) with an estimated Cronbach’s alpha of .91 (Ben-Bakr, Al-Shammari, & Jefri, 1994). Secondly, job performance was measured by a 13-scale metrics called the Service Desk performance scorecard developed by Meyer, Allen, and Smith (2003) with an estimated Cronbach’s alpha of .85 (Feather & Rauter, 2004). Thirdly, Pearson product-moment correlations coefficients (r) were conducted to determine whether a relationship exists between job satisfaction and job performance. The Pearson's correlation is used to find a correlation between at least two continuous variables. The value for a Pearson's can fall between 0.00 (no correlation) and 1.00 (perfect correlation). Other factors such as group size will determine if the correlation is significant. Generally, correlations above 0.80 are considered adequately high. Lastly, all analyses were conducted at the 0.05 significance level.
Results Participants The table below shows the distribution of the call center agents according to age and gender. Table 1. Distribution of Agents by Age and Gender Gender Age (Years) 29 & above 25 – 28 21 – 24 Total Frequency 1 8 21 30 Female Percentage 1.7 % 13.3 % 35 % 50 % Male Frequency 2 11 17 30 Percentage 3.3 % 18.3 % 28.4 % 50 %
The minimum age, maximum age, and mean age of the call center agents are 21, 30, and 24.07 years respectively. The majority (38 agents or 63.4%) is in the range of the early 20’s (21 to 24 years), the medium (19 agents or 31.6%) is in the range of the middle 20’s (25 to 28 years), and the minority (3 agents or 5%) is in the range of the late 20’s and early 30’s (29 and above years).
25 Job Satisfaction A score of 25 or lower represents a low level of satisfaction; a score of 26 to 74 indicates an average level of satisfaction; and a score of 75 or higher corresponds to a high level of satisfaction. The call center agents obtained a mean score of 83.84 for the MSQ General Satisfaction Scale. The score indicates that most of the call center agents are highly satisfied with their jobs. The table below shows the distribution of the agents according to gender and the corresponding level of the MSQ General Satisfaction scale. Table 2. Distribution of Agents by Gender and Corresponding level of the General Satisfaction Scale Gender Female Level High Average Total Frequency 19 11 30 Percentage 31.7 % 18.3 % 50 % Frequency 22 8 30 Male Percentage 36.7 % 13.3 % 50 %
Forty-one call center agents (68.4%) acquired high levels of satisfaction and nineteen agents (31.6%) attained average levels of satisfaction. Job Performance The Monthly Performance scale of the Service Desk agent scorecard was categorized into 5 ratings. A score of 80 or lower falls under the Needs Improvement rating; a score of 81 to 82 falls under the Low Expectations rating; a score of 83 falls under the Meets Expectations rating; a score of 84 to 85 falls under the High Meets Expectations rating; and a score of 86 or higher falls under the Exceeds Expectations rating. The call center agents obtained a mean score of 82.46 on the monthly performance score of the Service Desk performance scorecard. The score indicates that most of the call center agents meets the expectations of the call center corporation on a given month. The table below shows the distribution of call center agents according to gender and the categorized monthly performance score of the Service Desk performance scorecard.
26 Table 3. Distribution of the Agents by Gender and Categorized Monthly Performance Score Gender Female Rating High Meets Expectations Meets Expectations Low Expectations Needs Improvement Total Frequency 1 15 13 1 30 Percentage 1.7 % 25 % 21.7 % 1.7 % 50 % Frequency 2 18 10 0 30 Male Percentage 3.3 % 30 % 16.7 % 0% 50 %
Three agents (5 percent) acquired a high meets expectations rating, 33 agents (55 percent) attained a meets expectations rating, 23 agents (38.4 percent) accumulated a low expectations rating, and 1 agent (1.7 %) gained a needs improvement rating. Job Satisfaction and Job Performance The table below and on the following page shows the correlation of job satisfaction and job performance. Table 4. Correlations General Satisfaction 1 60 .04 .76 60 Monthly Performance .04 .76 60 1 60
Pearson Correlation Sig. (2-tailed) N Monthly Pearson Correlation Performance Sig. (2-tailed) N
A Pearson correlation of .040 and a significance (2-tailed) of .76 were found in the job satisfaction-job performance relationship reviewed in the study. For this estimate, it is safe to conclude that the true correlation is nonzero and relatively insignificant.
27 Discussion The distribution of the call center agents’ ages shows that the call center company hires a sizeable percentage of health workers who belong in the category of young adults (21 - 24 years). An interview with the human resource department head of the call center company tries to clarify this revelation. She says that most of the health practitioners that apply to the company belong to the age category previously mentioned and the majority of them also posses the necessary credentials. The study examined job satisfaction using one measure: the long-form MSQ. Results show that the call center agents with undergraduate degrees in nursing (N = 60) were able to obtain average and high scores on the general satisfaction scale of the MSQ consistently without anyone falling under the low category. The percentage of those agents who acquired high levels of satisfaction (68.4%) is relatively higher than the percentage of those who acquired average levels of satisfaction (31.6%). The group also obtained a mean score of 83.84 on the general satisfaction scale of the MSQ. These indications suggest that health professionals who are currently working for the call center company are exceedingly satisfied with their work. Job performance on the other hand, was determined using a different measure: the Service Desk performance scorecard. Noticeably, figures show that 23 agents (38.4%) recorded a low meets expectations rating in the scorecard. Assumingly, this might be caused by an underlying factor. The interview, as mentioned earlier, discloses that the call center company has a policy of leniency among its call center agents. The guideline specifies that a call center agent is allowed not to reach the required quota or goal on three different occasions (months) before he is transferred to another department of the call center company or recommended to another call center company or forced into resignation by his employer. This practice might have caused the agents to perform passively or assertively. The academic course (nursing) was chosen to be the group level of analysis in the study as suggested by Ostroff (1993). However, the norm group did not help the study to be more reliable. Moreover, a Pearson product-moment correlation of .040 and a significance (2tailed) of .76 achieved in this study is not an accurate estimate of the job satisfaction and job performance relationship as achieved by past studies (Petty et al., 1984; Iaffaldano & Muchinsky, 1985) and recommended by other research (Fisher, 2000; Brief, 2002; Rode, 2004; Saari & Judge, 2004; Mount & Johnson, 2006). Conclusion and Recommendation In summary, the present study provided a review of the relationship between job satisfaction and job performance among call center agents with undergraduate degrees in nursing. Despite contrary results to that of previous studies, the study does not believe that research on the satisfaction-performance relationship should be abandoned. Given the scope of the current review, the researcher recommends the following considerations.
28 First, a facilitator should be present during questionnaire administration. The researcher assumes that several respondents did not take the questionnaire sincerely as noticed on their answers. Second, a call center company should be chosen carefully possibly a corporation without lenient policies. This factor, as thoroughly explained on the previous chapter, might affect the performance of the employees highly or poorly. Third, compensation should also be taken into account. Most of the employees in call centers receive higher salaries than nurses hired in local hospitals. Presumably, this might cause the agents to be satisfied more or to perform better. Last, a performance metrics with more categories on scores should be used. This would provide more distinctions for better analysis. The study therefore remains to be a “work in progress” for the possibility of future work on the same topic is plenty and promising.
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Identity Transition of Filipino Call Center Agents
Cabral, Sherlan A.
This research deals with the work experiences of trainees, present and former call center agents. It describes how they handled the cultures of their work and their own culture as Filipinos. This paper also explored the social identities of call center agents during office hours and after. There are some similarities and differences in their experiences that one must take into consideration in understanding the call center industry. Nine willing participants whose age ranged from 19-30 years old were involved in this study. Three people for each group, namely: trainees; present call center agents and; former call center agents. They were interviewed regarding their work identity, personal identity and culture. The interviews was transcribed and then examined by the researcher. Findings showed that trainees are more focused on the adjustments they took on language and culture of the clients. For the present call center agents, their belongingness to the industry is seen. And for the former call center agents, it was the job’s demand that was the reason why they have to comply with the industry. It had been, for them, a way of improving their sense of self.
I’ve grown certain the root of all fear is that we’ve been forced to deny who we are. -Frances Moore Lappe The Philippines is one of the countries that are producing many call center agents worldwide. Statistics showed that as of 2004, Philippines have attracted 20 percent of the total world market share in call center services. Philippines is also one of the top BPO destinations worldwide according to a survey conducted in 2005. This gave way for many of our fresh graduates and undergraduates in finding their job opportunities in the call center industry. Call center companies are not only concerned with the economical labor cost in the Philippines but also the profusion of skillful and well-trained workforce. For many years now, people have heard so much about call centers but there is so little number of individuals who have dared to explore the implications of this kind of work to us, Filipinos. This gave way to why the paper was planned and explored. This study highlights the effects and practices of globalization as experienced by the Filipino call center agents. Culture is a set of ideas, behavior, attitudes and traditions that exist within the group while identity can be defined as the person’s own sense of self. These two may be interdependent with one another. The culture may have an impact on one’s identity and the identity of each individual can contribute to the culture of a group. In order for someone to work in a call center, one must be fluent in speaking the English language in an American or British accent. That is why in a call center company, they have to train the individuals who are willing to work for them, and they have to train them to fake their accents and to learn more about the culture of Americans, British or other nationalities. They have to know how other nationalities speak, act, think and live. It does not necessarily mean that if you know how to speak English you are qualified for the job. There are a lot of changes that this workforce has to face. One is the different culture in the industry and how this acceptance of culture can change the identity of the call center agents. If so, how do they keep up with the transitions that they have to go
35 through in this kind of work? Do they internalize what they have learned to embrace the fake culture and forget about their own? Or is it just an on-stage role that they have to take whenever they start their work and leave it just behind the confines of their office? Lappe (2004) said that the root of all fear is that people are forced to deny who they are. In the call center companies, Filipinos have to deny their true identity and conceal it with the fake accent and the English language. It is possible that these individuals who are working in this field would really learn how to internalize the identity that they have acquired in the work and would eventually let go of their own ways. This would lead to Filipinos who are unwilling to be Filipino enough for themselves because they have learned to reject and to fully accept it. The goal of this paper is to determine the changes of a trainee, a present call center and former call center agent after immersing in the call center industry. It explored the possibility that a call center worker could slip in and out of his work identity and his personal identity. The study also focused on the impact of the kind of work and culture that Filipinos are exposed to during their stay and work in a call center company. This paper tried to answer the following questions: What are the work experiences of the trainee, present and former call center agents? How do they differ from one another? What similarities do they have? Do they use the learned culture even after their work is over? Do they prefer the discovered culture than their own culture? Do they have a hard time going through the transition? What did they do in order to stay in track with the changes? What happens to them after the training, while working and even after leaving this kind of job? Do they carry the changes in their present work or do they leave it in that industry after leaving? Can they go back to who they were before they worked in a call center or would they forever bring the identity they learned in their lives?
Acceptance of Foreign Culture
Figure 1: The Transition Process of the call center trainee, agent and former agent.
36 According to the Social Identity theory, the group membership produces ingroup/self-categorization and improvement in ways that favor the in-group at the expense of the out-group. (Turner and Tajfel, 1986). Individuals who have accepted the group that they are in are more prone to biases. A person would usually consider his/her group to be much better than the other groups. In order to develop self-esteem, individuals try to see 'us' as dissimilar from and better than 'them'. Therefore, they are displaying favoritism in their in-group. The identity that they acquire in their in group usually has a big implication on who they are. It would be the basis of the conceptual framework, if the call center agents are more in favor to the culture that they’ve learned from their work and whether they treated their own culture as their out-group. Since the agents’ social group is the call center industry, wherein they are taught of the foreign culture, identity and accent, this is what they would consider their in-group. The researcher explored if they would reject their own culture, which they now consider as their out-group. Or these call center agents may still consider their own culture as their in-group while the learned culture as their out-group. The figure suggests that the trainees’, present call center agents, and former call center agents accept what they have in the call center industry. The changes takes place at the start of the trainee wherein there is not yet a full acceptance of the call center industry although there is already a portion wherein they are able to accept the industry. Unlike for the trainees, the present call center has a full acceptance of the industry that they are in and the transformation that can be seen from them is very immense. While for the former call center agents, they have overcome this industry but there are things that they have acquired when where still in the call center business that they have brought even after working for this type of industry. This study focused on the similarities and differences in the identity and orientation of culture in the three types of individual that the call center companies produce. These are the Trainee, Present Call Center Agent and the Former Call Center Agent. With the knowledge of the transitions that take place in each group, people who are willing to work for a call center industry can and would be able to prepare for the changes that they have to go through. In the trainee, the researcher established the changes that the individual goes through. The work experiences while in the training program in the call center would be one of the bases of the researcher. It explored on what adjustments they have to take. It also dealt with the idea whether trainee would learn to integrate the learned culture in their present lives. In the present call center agent, the researcher determined the changes in the cultural orientations of the individual. Once again experiences during the agent’s work in a call center are a vital source of information. It explored on the differences on the learned culture and the origin culture of the individual. In the former call center agents, the researcher explored whether they have come to the point wherein they have learn to use their learned culture in their life even after
37 they have left the work wherein they have acquired this. And what impact does this knowledge have on them. In figure one, there are also similarities among the three individuals, and this is one of the things that the researcher wants to investigate. The difference among their transition is also one of the concepts the researcher wants to study.
Review of Related Literature This chapter presents the related literature which provided the needed insights into the development of the research framework. Das et. al. (2008) focused on one such significant example of contemporary globalization: transnational service work in the international call center industry in India. The findings indicate that national identity centrality is indeed negatively associated with employee performance and positively associated with intention to leave. Furthermore, national identity centrality also moderates the relationship of organizational identification with performance and burnout. While the researchers reinforce the importance of organizational identity and occupational identity centrality, the researchers highlight the hitherto ignored consequences of national identity centrality in their study context. In the study of Ellemers et. al. (2002), the self and identity were examined by considering the different conditions under which these are affected by the groups to which people belong. From a social identity perspective, the researchers argue that group commitment and features of the social context are crucial determinants of central identity concerns. They develop taxonomy of situations to reflect the different concerns and motives that come into play as a result of threats to personal and group identity and degree of commitment to the group. They specify for each cell in this taxonomy how these issues of self and social identity impinge upon a broad variety of responses at the perceptual, affective, and behavioral level. In line with the above studies, Billett and Somerville (2004) studied how identity and learning are constituted and transformed at work. Its central concern is how individuals learn and transform through workplace practices. According to Billet and Somerville (2004), only particularly dramatic events (i.e. serious illness or workplace accidents) wholly transform their identity and views about work practice--their subjectivities. However, it is through these actions that workplace practices can be transformed. In addition, self-concept is a structural product of reflexive activity, but it is also susceptible to change as the individual encounters new roles, situations, and life transitions. The data reviewed in this paper suggest that: (i) self-evaluation generally becomes more favorable through the life-span; (ii) self-evaluation is represented by a
38 “moving baseline” from which situational fluctuations emerge; (iii) self-concept is characterized by both stability and change over the life course; and (iv) environmental stability plays an important role in self-concept stability. (Hemo 1992) Parallel to the other studies, work motivation and performance were analyzed from the perspective of social identity theory and self-categorization theory. Central in this analysis is the relation of organizational identification with the motivation to exert effort on behalf of the collective. A theoretical analysis as well as a review of empirical studies of the relationship of organizational identification with motivation and performance leads to the conclusion that identification is positively related to work motivation, task performance, and contextual performance to the extent that (a) social identity is salient, and (b) high performance is perceived to be in the group's or organization’s interest. (van Knippenberg, 2000) In addition, an attempt to understand the complex inter-linkage between technocratic and socio-ideological control in organizations, examined organizational control processes in inbound and outbound call centers in Bangalore, India. (D’Cruz and Noronha, 2006) Relying on qualitative interviews and thematic analysis, the study demonstrated how organizations invoke the concept of professionalism in their employees. Organizational efforts in this direction result not only in employee compliance but also internalization of professionalism such that agents’ sense of self changes to embrace employer-defined professionalism. Socio-ideological control thus sets the stage for the acceptance and effectiveness of technocratic control. Rather than viewing organizational identities and organizational cultures as additional or separate extensions of the substantive, structural, material dimensions of control, the findings of the study highlight that socio-ideological and technocratic forms of control build on and feed each other. Nonetheless, the managerial notion of control espoused through the appeal to professional identity continues to be contested. Similarly, Checkel (2001) have studied why agents comply with the norms embedded in regimes and international institutions. Scholars have proposed two competing answers to this compliance puzzle, one rationalist, the other constructivist. Rationalists emphasize coercion, cost/benefit calculations, and material incentives, whereas constructivists emphasize social learning, socialization, and social norms. Although both schools explain important aspects of compliance, the challenge is to build bridges between them. ‘The global economy cannot be taken simply as given, whether what is given is a set of markets or a function of the power of multinational corporations.’ (Sassen ,2000) The shift of focus to practices that constitute what we call economic globalization allows for analyses of how diverse groups of workers play varied and active roles vis-à-vis transnational corporate and financial practices. Appadurai (2000) disputes the view that globalization brings about a straightforward cultural homogenization. Rather, he argues that we live in a ‘world of
39 flows’ characterized by the constant movement of ideas, ideologies, people, goods, images, messages and technologies. Bhabha (1994), on the other hand noted that ‘the discourse of mimicry contains ambivalence. In order to be effective mimicry one must continually produce its slippage, its excess, its difference.’ Additionally, Poster (2007) explored the globalization of service work through an analysis of customer service call centers in India for U.S. firms. It reveals a new kind of managerial strategy, "national identity management," in which employees are asked to subsume different national identities as part of the job. Through interviews with over eighty Indian call center personnel and case studies of three call centers, this paper analyzes how and why ethnicity and citizenship have become crucial elements of the labor process. It builds upon and elaborates seminal theories of managerial control in interactive service work, including Hochschild's theory of emotion management and Leidner's theory of scripting. It argues that globalization fundamentally alters the relationship of the actors, the purpose and practice of managerial control, and the outcomes for those involved. In addition, it reflects on theories of advancing information and communication technology (ICT), and global identity. Some scholars argue that the development of ICTs will lead to a homogenization (especially an "Americanization") of identities, while others see increasing global disjuncture and renegotiation of identities. Instead, this analysis reveals a continuum of responses by workers to the process of national identity management, and the forging of multiple, internally differentiated ethnic identities. It concludes by arguing that customer service work will continue to be globalized, and as a result, issues of "nation" will increasingly surface within interactive service work. Synthesis In summary, the studies presented showed that work can have a big impact on the identity of the workers. Globalization is taking its toll on the different works that Filipino are involved and engaged at. The learning takes place in their work environment and through work practices. The present study in quite similar to the previous studies for it would tackle on the transitions a worker has to go through in order to be competent in his field. But it is somehow different in the present study because it focuses on the Filipino call center industry. The present study explored and compared the experiences of the trainee, present and former agents. It investigated whether their learned identity is instilled in their own personality.
40 Method Research Design A qualitative design was used for the study. Interviews were used to gather needed information from the participants. Participants There were nine participants in the study. Three participants belonging to the trainee, the present call center agents, and the former call center agents groups were interviewed. The participants’ age ranged from 19 years old to 30 years old. Since there are more females than male in the call center industry, (58% vs. 42%). The current study also invited more female participants (67%). The participants came from call center companies from Manila. All the trainees are on their 16th day of training in their company. Present 2 and 3 had been in the industry for almost four years while present 1 had had five years of work in his call center job. Former 1 had one year of work, Former 2 had six months of work while Former 3 had two years of work in the call center industry. All of the respondents agreed to be interviewed for the study. Instruments Interview schedules were used as the primary instrument to generate data for the study like how they perceived themselves after entering the call center industry. In addition, basic personal information of the interviewees such as age and gender were included. There were ten open ended questions for each respondent that was posed either in English or Filipino, depending on the participants’ preference. The technique is helpful and efficient in data gathering because it dealt with the transformation revealed through their work experiences. A voice recorder was used for those participants who agreed to have the interview recorded. Procedures The participants were first identified by the researcher. They were contacted via friends and families, only those who were willing to participate in the study were chosen. The research and its procedure were discussed in order for them to know where they stand and how the study goes. They were informed about what the interview was all about and the questions that they have to answer. They were also asked whether the interview can be recorded. Those who agreed to record the conversation were the only ones whose interviews recorded using the researcher’s cellular phone. After completely discussing the procedures, they were asked for their available time and day for the said interview to avoid possible problems that may interfere with it. The time of the interview
41 depended on the free time of the interviewee but it was made sure that every interview the ten guide questions will be answered. The place of interview also depended on the preference of the interviewee. The place of interview was conducive. Guide questions were prepared before the interview took place. This was to ensure that needed information will be asked.
Results and Discussion The result of the study showed that there were some changes with the trainees after immersing in the call center community when asked, “How do you perceive yourself before and after entering the industry”. All answers showed improvement in their selfconcept. “I am a nobody when I first entered. I can’t speak English... When I finally got the job in the call center, it really boosts my confidence up to this level (leveling his hand above his head). It’s like “oh, wow! You can really speak English because you’re qualified.” - Trainee 3 “I am not that confident with people, really I am not. I find it difficult to talk to people especially in English. I’m really shy.” - Trainee 2 “I am just a simple person before who came from the province, I came out from my shell.” - Present 3 “I have always been confident with the way I speak. I know that I speak well and I always make sure that I know what I am talking about. After entering I still speak well. I am just more comfortable speaking to foreigners today. I still buy the same stuff I buy.” - Former 1 The changes that the participants have encountered when they entered the call center industry made them feel stable and secure. They thought that before working for a call center industry they were not as secure as they felt at present. They also showed to have better self-concept. This finding is supported by the study of Hemo (1992), according to the latter, a person’s self-concept is affected by their stability and the changes that they encounter in their lives. It is likely to change once they encounter new roles, situations and life transitions.
42 Entering this industry has caused the participants to view themselves as positive unlike before they entered the call center job. For them, it seemed as if this is a way to improve themselves and grow as a person. The trainees have a negative assumption about themselves as they recall the times before they even worked for a call center. They seem to be pessimistic about themselves and even the kind of life that they have before. But when they have entered the industry, they were able to overcome the negativity and somehow felt confident and showed a positive outcome. For the present call center agents, they tend to recall themselves to be simple before their present work. Simple in the sense that they have not yet unleash the self or what they have and what they can give unlike when they have entered the industry they were able to answer that they have acquired knowledge and that they are able to fully express who they are since they have build their confidence. For the former call center agents, they recall themselves as confident and good at speaking. They exhibit positivity and optimism in themselves. For them, taking the roles of the call center agent is just a duty that they have to do in order to do their job. When respondents were asked, “What were the changes that you have to deal with in the workplace?” All their responses were related to English language skills. They thought that adapting to a native speaker accent was one of the challenges that they faced at work. “To deal with accent and grammar. Oh grammar, you really have to know grammar because if you don’t, they’re going to laugh at you. - Trainee2 “Well, there are a lot of changes and these are big changes in terms of conversational skills, competition, listening skills, accent, and grammar.” - Present 2 “In terms of accent, this one is a major change. Here in the Philippines, we are not really mindful of our English accent. But when speaking with Americans, their accent must really be adapted.” - Former 1 Since a call center requires a lot of knowledge in the English language, they have to be able to develop the skills needed for better conversation. They are mostly referring to the changes in their conversational skills, the grammar, accent, comprehension and vocabularies. These are some things that they have to change in order to comply with the needs and requirements of the company. This is also the part of the company to control the norms and nature of the Filipinos work. It is also a way to Americanize the Filipinos in order to be conventional to the needs of the company, as Adam (1998) has put it in ‘temporal features of living’.
43 Bhabha (1994) stated that the discourse of mimicry contains ambivalence and one must generate its slippage, its excess and its difference to be an effective mimicry. This produces an imitation of other nationalities, but an imitation is still a fraud. While the Filipinos are trained and assessed to replicate the other nationalities, the slippage, in this part, is when the Filipinos’ perception and view the other nationalities negatively as opposed to what they should believe in. In this part, the differences of the agents and their client are magnified. It seems to ignore the superiority of the clients because of the agents’ perception of them. In terms of their lifestyle, the respondents believed that their spending had increased. They felt they had more buying powers than before. “I eat more nowadays because the salary is bigger now, I’m getting more money so you have the guts to go and enter expensive restaurants and to eat more than five times a day. The lifestyle of a call center agent, they always go out, they always hang out. They are the people who will die early because they smoke a lot and drink a lot because it is the only outlet that they have.” - Present 2 “The lifestyle of call center representatives is high. If you are there, you have to adapt. Of course I did not go out every time but there were instances that I had to spend a lot because the rest of the team is spending too. I do not think that I changed after working as a call center agent. I spoke more fluently after that but I still do the old things I do. I did not want to become an American after that.” - Former 1 Participants also emphasized the need for socialization with others. The participants answered that they usually conform with what their officemates are doing. They were pressured to conform to others because these things tend to be the norms in the office. Checkel (2001) said rationalists emphasize coercion, cost calculations, and material incentives, whereas constructivists emphasize social learning, socialization, and social norms. An agent conforms because of his/her need for material things. He/she is also obligated to abide by the needs and requisites of the company. A closer look at the results showed that while trainees were more concerned with the accent, grammar, and other conversational skills needed to do the job. They focused more on how to speak and how to deal with the clients. Present call center agents, they were more concerned on how to deal with the pressure in the office and how to improve their work. The former call center agents, on the other hand, argued that there were no changes in their identity. Das et al. (2008) pointed that the national identity centrality is associated with the intention to leave. Inasmuch as respondents encountered a lot of changes, they were asked how they cope up with the changes.
“You really have to cope fast. You really have to learn fast. That’s the technique.” - Trainee 2 “You’ll just get the hang of it, eventually.”
Present 1 Former 3
“You don’t cope with it. You get used to it.”
For the trainees, their focus is learning how to deal with the changes in their routine. They have to learn fast to adjust and to produce the expected outcome from them. For the present call center agents, they see the changes as monotonous. They said that it eventually becomes normal when you do something repetitively. As for the former call center agents, their memory of their work in the call center is quite similar with the present call center agents wherein they view it as monotonous. They told that it was a tedious job that requires them to do the job over and over again. When asked when it was difficult to suddenly adapt to the changes the trainees said that they were culture shocked. “Culture shock, yeah, especially with Americans. They are totally different and they are racists.” - Trainee 3 “When they heard that you are a Filipino “they would ask, Are you a Filipino?” when you say yes, they would hang up on you.” - Trainee 1 “Not really, it is just the type of industry that you have to work on every day” - Present 2 “It was a little difficult. Americans are more forward than Filipinos and I came from a family of conservatives. The clients are more flirty and domineering.” - Former 1 As seen from the trainees’ responses, they were more concerned with adjusting to the discrimination and hostility of their clients respond towards them. For them their adjustments have to deal with the differences in the perception of the other nationalities have towards them, as Filipinos and as professionals. As for the present call center agents, they are focused on the work demands as to the time of their work and the effort that they put on the job. While for the former call center agents, they are also concerned
45 with the differences of the Filipinos to the other nationalities. Since Filipinos are known as conservatives, they recall having the difficulty in adjusting to the straight forwardness of their foreign clients. In terms of whether they bring these changes outside the workplace, all respondents said that they do. “When we go out, when we talk in English outside, they’re going to look at us like we are “napakaarte naman nito” because we carry it outside. We’re unaware of it. We unconsciously bring it outside. Somehow when you have developed it in you, it’s as if it’s in your blood.” - Trainee 3 “For me, I do. Just like what I am doing right now. I am speaking in English. There are times that you will really bring these changes with you since you are doing it almost every day. Sometimes you really won’t notice it. It just comes out naturally.” - Present 3 “I brought it a little. I spoke English all the time, especially if I was with my teammates. We do that unconsciously in the mall. We are not bragging, it just so happened that that is what we are used to.” - Former 1 Somehow, the individual or the participants and the call center industry that they were working for were influenced by one another. With this, the changes that they have to go through were not only subjected to the person’s self but also to the environment that they have in their work. Billet and Somerville (2004) stated “there is a relational interdependency between the individual and work that can act to sustain or transform both self and their work.” When they were able to adjust to the changes that they have to go through in their work, somehow, they were also affected by these changes. When they were affected by these changes, there were times that they really carry it outside their workplace. In this case, the most common thing that they have answered is that they usually carry the language and their way of speaking inside the office in their outside life. They were able to speak in this language without even noticing that they were doing this. Their role affected them to change in such a way that would conform to the industry and would change themselves so that they could fit in the job. But unconsciously affects the way they deal with things even outside the office. For the trainees, speaking English is something that they have to do even outside the office because it is a way of practicing and getting used to it. But from their answers it showed that they were withdrawn when they were speaking English outside the office. They were fully aware that people might hear them speaking in English and may think that they were arrogant. For the present call center agents, they said they were so used to it, that sometimes they really bring the changes that they have learned from the office in
46 their everyday lives. It is a result of the constant use and encounter with the changes. For the former call center agents, once they were with their co-workers, they usually bring the changes outside. These were the people that they were working with, that is why, even when they go out together, they usually use the changes they acquired. When asked “Was it difficult for you to separate your identity inside the workplace from the outside? Some respondents said they were able to separate their identities but there were also those who cannot separate it. “Since I am still in training, I am still able to separate it.”
“Sometimes no because I seemed to juggle up with what I am inside to outside world. That’s why I can say that, I don’t need to separate my identity. What I am inside the workplace is what I am outside.” - Present 1 “No, of course not. When you’re with your family, you’re a different person. When you’re at work, you’re a different person just like Beyonce and Sasha. She calls herself Sasha when she performs because she turns into a butterfly when she performs. But at home and to her friends she’s simply Beyonce. So that’s where flexibility comes in.” - Present 3 “It wasn’t difficult as long as I know who I really am.”
Former 1 Trainee 3
“Sometimes it is not easy. But I really want to separate it.”
The participants were able to be very flexible in terms of the changes that they have to go through in their work. In here, participants were able to classify what they should do and even how to do it because they have to deal with the different concerns and motives that they have. Ellemers et. al.(2002) said that agents develop taxonomy of situations to reflect the different concerns and motives that come into play as a result of threats to personal and group identity and degree of commitment to the group. They had to be flexible in order to achieve what they need and what they want. If they had not been flexible they would lose a chance in achieving one of their goals or attaining what they want. Like what Present 3 said, when you’re with your family, you’re different and when you’re at work you’re different. Different situations and environment tend to draw from individuals different behaviors and values. Since a person may be directed toward a goal, one must fit in the situation or environment that they have in order to attain this. Call center agents tend to slip in and out of their work identity in order to accommodate the needs and requirements of their work.
47 For the trainees, practicing the changes that they have to apply at work was their main concern. It is easier for them to separate the roles that they take in the office and in their personal life because they have not yet stayed long enough with the company. For the present call center agents, they are more concerned with the in issues of professionalism in the call center. Some was able to say that they can slip in and out of their work identities because this is how call center agents are. Some were caught up in the issues on how to separate the problems that the industry brought them. For the former call center agents, they were more concern on their own identity. They were able to cling to their own identity in able to separate the identity they have from the identity the company requires them. As to deal with belongingness of the participants in the culture of the call center industry, all the respondents said that they had adapted to it. “We really have adapted to it.”
“When it comes to culture in this industry, I’ve already adapted to it. I am used to it since I’m doing it almost every day. We’re doing these 5 times a week. So we’re also doing it in our everyday living.” - Trainee 3 “Yes, accent wise I am. What’s in, I am. Identity, I am. Finally, outlook in life, I am now, yes. The culture becomes a part of your lifestyle, doing things constantly will eventually become a habit.” - Present 1 “Yes, we’ve been in this industry for more than four years now. So it’s not only a part of the culture but we’ve also contributed to the acceptance of the outsourcing business here in the Philippines.” - Present 2 “I felt that I was a part of the American culture while speaking with the clients. I had to feel that I was a part of their culture to do my job exceedingly well. Of course I had to relate with them and in order to do so, I must adapt to the way they speak and think so I could answer them the way I should.” - Former 1 Because of the organizations’ need for the employees’ acquiescence with the ways and changes in the call center industry, the participants were able to integrate these changes in themselves. As stated by D’Cruz and Noronha (2006) Organizational efforts result not only in employee compliance but also internalization of professionalism such that agents’ sense of self changes to embrace employer-defined professionalism. The pursuit of the companies to instill in their employees the need for the changes and
48 obedience, they were able to somehow change and let their employees comply with their needs and at the same time, the employees also go through changes that deals with themselves. The employees have to deal with the changes at work and because of these changes they undergo changes that not only deal with work related issues but also their sense of self. For the trainees, they said that they have adapted to it since they are doing it every day, and since the call center job not only requires them to speak in a different language with a different accent, they also have to know things how about their clients think and act. They have adapted to it because they have to, for their job. While for the present call center agents, they feel a sense of belongingness to the call center industry. They seem to feel as if they were a part of the industry and its culture. Lastly, for the former call center agents, judging from their memory of their call center job, they seem to tell that the involvement in the industry was to do the work better and to relate with clients. But they do not have a sense of belongingness to it. They even seem detached from the industry. When asked as to which is easier, communicating with foreigners or with Filipinos, there were some respondents that said that it is easier for them to talk with Filipinos rather than their clients and some who had answered they find it easier to communicate with foreigners than Filipinos. “Filipinos. It is our native language, this is our mother tongue.”
“Filipinos. And even when you speak well, for foreigners, there will always be language barrier. If you are not born in their place, there will always be a barrier there. There is a big block there.” - Present 2 “Of course I find speaking with Filipinos easier because I know the way Filipinos act.” - Former 1 “Actually, with foreigners they’re professional, courteous and even straight forward unlike Filipinos – they may sometimes be cranky, rude and unprofessional.” - Present 1 With the social Identity theory, it was said that the individual was biased to its in-group and putting the out-group at stake. Here, it was seen that that some of the participants were being biased whether they have engaged themselves fully to the call center industry or not. Since they view their in-group as being superior to others, they have actually established a sense of favoritism and defensiveness to the group. They also displayed signs of easiness and comfort with their group.
49 Almost, all the participants were able to say that they prefer talking with Filipinos than their foreign clients. They said this was where they were comfortable with and that there is a much easier communication with them. The trainees were more concerned with the thought that the language and Filipinos were where they belong to. However, for the present call center agents, they focused their attention in telling that there was always a barrier when talking and communicating with foreigners because they were different from the Filipino culture. For the former call center agents, focused on the fact that the Filipino was the culture that they know so well. For them it was easier to have communication with the Filipinos because, somehow, they know their own culture. It can be seen that the favoritism to the other culture takes place usually in the trainee and present call center stage. They have developed a sense of belongingness to it. Conclusion and Recommendation The trainees’ experiences were more prone to the pressure and changes that they have encountered in their job. They seem to be in favor with their learned culture in terms of work and how it helped them to improve themselves. Their experiences were more on how they were able to deal with their clients and the things that they have to know in order to excel in the field that they were in. For the present call center agents, they were more likely similar to the experiences of the trainees, they were more inclined with the call center industry when they were at work but they also admitted that they still prefer the Filipino culture and ways. It is like they were able to put on their mask when they start working and put it off when they were finished. As for the former call center agents, it is simply a means to develop more on the language, accent, comprehension and grammar. They were able to develop these further and admitted that they were not really changed in terms of their identity and that they did not want to changed their own nationality or race. One thing that was similar with the participants was being used to the language and the culture. This may have been the cause why they were able to bring some of the changes outside the workplace. The only things that they said, that they were able to bring outside their office was speaking in English and with an accent. They said once someone get used to it, you no longer notice that you were not speaking in your native language especially when they were with their co-workers. It was as if it is inevitable. They have admitted that they still prefer the Filipino way rather than the learned ways and culture in the industry. Some of them at some point were able to say that there were things that were really difficult in working in a call center. Some find the language difficult especially the changes in accent. Some said the different shifts that they have to get used to. One way to overcome the changes was to cope fast and to learn fast. They should be able to adjust to it little by little to keep track of their selves and to gradually take on the changes. After training, they seem to be able to slip in and out of the identity they have to put on when working. They seem to gain self-esteem and improvements on themselves. While for the present call center agents, they said that you have to keep on learning. You
50 should find ways to improve your communication skills and their time is consumed on drinking and socializing with their co-workers after work, since this is their only outlet they have. As for the former call center agents, they were able to use the changes that took place in their communication skills and in the English language. According to the results, they were biased with their answers but they were biased to their true identity and culture rather than the learned one. The interview with all the participants suggested that the participants were able to retain the respect for their identity and culture. There were instances where in the participants prefer some traits about the foreign culture but that does not mean that they were completely in favor of the foreign culture, the participants said that it would make good outcomes if some of the good traits of the culture can be adapted by the Filipinos. One impact of the study was for the benefit of those who were planning to enter the call center industry. It was a guide on the changes and identity transitions that a call center had to go through and how they were able to handle these things. The researcher would want to recommend a bigger set of participants to have a bigger scope of the people working for a call center’s perspective. Future studies can also make a quantitative study wherein the changes that the call center agents go through would be identified and examined further. The researcher would also recommend doing separate studies for the trainees, the present call center agents and the former call center agents to emphasize each stage’s experiences and impact on each participant. Also, it is suggested to further study on the former call center agents, on the changes after work and how they were able to imply what they have learned in the call center industry. In conducting interviews, it is proposed to increase the number of hours for the interview for it would help in exploring the study. It is also recommended that the study be conducted to the provincial call center companies in the Philippines.
51 References Adam, B. (1998) Timescapes of modernity: the environment and invisible hands. London:Routledge. Appadurai, A. (2000) ‘Grassroots globalization and the research imagination’, Public Culture, Volume 12, 1–19. Billet, S. and Somerville, M. (2004). Transformations at work: identity and learning. Studies in Continuing Education, Volume 26, Number 2, 309-326. Checkel, J. T. (2001). Why Comply? Social Learning and European Identity Change. International Organization, Vol.55, No. 3, 553-588. Demo, D. (1992). The Self-Concept over Time: Research Issues and Directions. Annual Review of Sociology, Vol. 18, 303-326. Das, D., Brandes, R. and Dharwadkar, P. (2008). The importance of being `Indian': Identity centrality and work outcomes in an off-shored call center in India. Human Relations, Vol. 61, No. 11, 1499-1530. D’Cruz, P. and Noronha, E. (2006). Being Professional: Organizational Control in Indian Call Centers. Social Science Computer Review, Vol. 24, No. 3, 342-361 Ellemers, N., Spears, R. and Doosje, B. (2002). Self and Social Identity. Annual Review of Psychology, Vol. 53: 161-186 Mirchandani, K. (2004). Practices of Global Capital: Gaps, Cracks and Ironies in Transnational Call Centres in India. Global Networks, Vol. 4: 355-373. Poster, W. R. (2007). Who's on the Line? Indian Call Center Agents Pose as Americans for U.S.-Outsourced Firms. Industrial Relations: A Journal of Economy and Society, Vol. 46, No. 2, 271-304. Sassen, S. (2000). Spatialities and temporalities of the global: elements for a theorization. Public Culture, Vol. 12, 215–32. van Knippenberg, D. (2000). Work Motivation and Performance: A Social Identity Perspective. Applied Psychology An International Review, Vol. 49, No 3, 357371.
52 Electronic Devices: http://ezinearticles.com/?Call-Center-Industry-In-The-Philippines&id=1029328 http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1295/is_8_68/ai_n6332380 http://www.tcw.utwente.nl/theorieenoverzicht/Theory%20clusters/Interpersonal %20Communication%20and%20Relations/Social_Identity_Theory.doc/ http://www.voip-news.com/feature/calling-contact-center-agents-011408/ http://www.magellan-solutions.com/2006_contact_centre_benchmark.html http://mongpalatino.motime.com/post/739945 http://www.teambuilding.co.uk/social_identity_theory.html http://journals.cambridge.org/ http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/ http://hjb.sagepub.com/
A Qualitative study of the Work Experiences of the Middle aged Agents In the Call Center Industry
Cea, Paul John Ace C.
This research aims to study the work experience of the middle aged agents in the call center industry, to know whether they are getting along well with the younger call center agents and if they are having physical, emotional and psychological difficulty. Interviews were done to collect sufficient data for the study. Respondents were selected through purposive sampling. The five agents selected were aged 40 and above which means they belong in the middle age group. The researcher used questions which are open ended as guide for the interview. This is to allow the respondents to discuss what is on their mind more effectively. After the interview, the data were then carefully analyzed to come up with a conclusion. Each interview were compared with each other to see which happens rarely and which happens more frequently. Results show that elderly call center agents have relatively good work experiences because they were able to get along with the younger co-workers, they were able to become productive workers who are not liabilities to their companies, and they are able to adjust to the demands of working as a call center agent.
The call center industry has been prevalent in the Philippines and a lot of people have been opting to work there instead of in the corporate world. One specific reason why people today choose to work at call centers is because of the good salary that they offer. One example of this is a call center company in Sta. Rosa, Laguna which offers a starting salary of fifteen thousand pesos. These salaries increase as they progress through their work. Though many call centers do not offer that much when it comes to perks and bonuses, the salary itself is a huge draw to different people in the Philippines who wish to get out of the financial crisis and live a happy and financially stable life. Though it is perceived that the call center industry is an industry for younger employees, some elderly employees decide to work in call centers as well. While they are not as spirited and youthful as their younger colleagues anymore, they are in it for the high salary, especially to those who have the working experiences that they hold. These elderly employees do not have qualms on a job that only uses your speaking skills. They have more trouble with interacting with their younger co-workers than the actual work itself. In retrospect, the elder employees see themselves in their younger co-workers when they were young. But is the generation gap between the elderly and the new generation too much for them to handle especially with a job that drains your energy and challenges your emotional toughness? The experiences that these elderly individuals go through are very valuable because it is a record of how they relate with coworkers 10 to fifteen years their junior. Do they do their works differently because of age gaps? Do they have different approaches in dealing with irate customers or any customers for that matter? Do they connect well in group works or group events? These are some of the questions the researcher would like to give answer to.
54 Figure 1.0 How Aging affects Work Performance
Age affected Physical Performance
Age affected Emotional Stability Age affected Psychosocial Needs
Aging As we grow older, our strength deteriorates. We are not as powerful and agile as how we used to be. Aging definitely hampers our ability to perform physical tasks. If that is the case, then as we age, we become more unfit to perform physically demanding work. Aging also affects our mood and emotional stability. Impaired emotions are never good for work. If we are emotionally weak, we cannot perform our tasks well. People on the middle age, according to Erikson (Hall et al. 2002), start to develop physical problems because they are no longer getting younger. This age group includes people who are aged 40-60 years old. Their biological problems are starting to develop. With aging comes physical weakness, and as people approach this stage, these physical
55 weaknesses include frail immune system. If they do not take care of themselves, they will more likely be receptive to sickness. Emotional Stability Aging does not only affect us physically but it also affects our endocrine system contributes to our mood and emotional processing. Poor emotional processing and habitual mood swings are not going to help if you are in a call center working environment. According to Hall et al. (2002), People are emotionally stable if they can control their emotions in a way that it is not a burden to themselves and to other people. If they know when and where to let go of these emotions are crucial, therefore the people who are emotionally stable thinks first before acting. It requires maximum tolerance to deal with irate customers. Thus, you have to be in a good mood, or at least be able to properly control your emotions if you want to last long in the industry.
56 Psychosocial Needs Another effect of aging is our psychosocial needs. Because the call center industry is a social work place, our psychosocial needs come into play. Erik Erikson’s psychosocial development theory states that as people age, they develop different roles that they need to fulfill. We encounter, confront, and hopefully master new challenges as we grow older. People who are in the age of 40 to 60 years are on a stage called middle adulthood. According to Erikson (Hall et al. 2002) on this stage, they develop a psychosocial crisis called “Generativity vs. Stagnation” They always want to be productive. They are selfless and want to give back to others. They have spent so many years working that they don’t want to stop and be stagnant. They are so used to the idea of generating something that being inactive is new to them. Generativity on this stage also means guiding the future generation, passing down the knowledge and experience that they have acquired through the years. Stagnation is not an option for them. This psychosocial crisis affects the work experiences of elder call center agents because they are in an environment where the other workers are not on the same stage as they are as far as the psychosocial development theory is concerned. Work Experience Working experience is essential to every employee’s career. Everybody deserves to enjoy the work that they are doing. According to Richardson (2002), good working experience generates positive working habits. If we are enjoying the thing that we do, then we are reinforced to do it well. We create a positive working habit because of the fact that we are inside a good working environment. Having good relationships with coworkers and superiors contribute to having good working practices. Bad working experience on the other hand, affects the relationship with co-workers in a negative way. If your colleagues don’t like and trust you, teamwork may not be generated. Thus, resulting in a bad productivity and, ultimately, to turnover. When middle aged people are at an industry like the call center industry, they are confronted with the challenge to make this experience as wonderful as they can. They are not surrounded by people their age but instead, they are with people who are much younger than they are. The challenge is to make peace with the younger generation and give themselves the good and positive energy needed for such a stressful work place. Overall, Erik Erikson describes people on the middle adulthood stage as people who are in need of being busy. Being productive is what gives them comfort and it helps them deny the fact that they are growing older. Being stagnant is not an option for them. If they do nothing, they become irritated. People on this stage also often start to look back on their accomplishments and be proud of what they have carried out in their lives. Hall et al. (2002) also states that middle adults start to adjust to the physical changes of middle age. They use their time creatively and they also have a more mature social responsibility. These people, according to Erikson in the theories of personality book, are the people that are preparing for retirement. Relating this to the researcher’s target research, why do they need to work on call centers if they are preparing for retirement?
57 Erikson also stated that they are adjusting to physical changes and the demanding physical needs of call center job may be difficult for them. The researcher would like to know their work experiences since they are undergoing through middle age changes unlike most of their workmates who are younger and are just teeing off. What are the experiences they have with their younger colleagues when it comes to work? The Diagram above shows how aging affects physical performance, emotional stability, and the psychosocial needs of an elder call center agent, and how these three, as they are being affected by aging, affects the elder call center agent’s working experience.
Review of Related Literature Call Center Call center provides consumers with customer help. It helps the business in giving aid to problematic consumers and assists them to help them reach their desired results. Because of the increasing popularity of the call centers not just in the Philippines but in the whole world, it has also been a ground for academic studies. (Aksin et al.,2006). The researchers paid attention to new management challenges that have been caused by emerging technologies, to behavioral issues associated with both call center agents and customers, and to the interface between call center operations and sales and marketing. While in another journal study of Hingst (2004), the article presents a review of articles commenting on the Taylorist heritage of call centers, and the emotional stresses imposed by a highly structured and monitored environment. Hingst (2004) concluded that call centers have not only been found to be a stressful place of employment, but the work itself is considered to put a significant demand upon the agent’s ability to subjugate and control their own emotional responses when talking to customers. Hingst (2004) also included in his study that call center workers must suppress their own emotions in order to empathize with customer on the other end of the line. Also, the anonymous medium like the telephone often cause burden to agents because it deprives them of face-to-face conversation with their customers. Because they cannot see who they are talking to, it adds up to their emotional baggage and it also add up to the limitations on how they should respond. In another study conducted by Hamilton (2005), it was concluded that call center firms are emotionally and physically draining. It is physically draining because the work is sometimes at the night hours these causes imbalance in a person’s physical make up such as sleeping habits and body clock adjustments. It is emotionally draining because you come in contact with complaining people most of the time. If you do not know how to handle it, then you may have emotional breakdown. Hamilton (2005) also stated the fact that the workplace is very receptive to stress and emotional fatigue since there are minimal interactions with officemates while at work.
Aging/Elderly Bongard et al. (2004) studied how the age and gender of an individual affects his/her physical activities. They collected data from people who are registered on the United States Masters Swimming. It is an organized swimming program for adults whose age are eighteen and above. As the programs suggests, there are various physical activities and the researchers separated the members whose age were eighteen to thirty nine and the members whose age were forty and above. They were run through series of swimming tests and their results were documented as part of the data. After the tests, results show that physical force of an individual will most likely peak from 35 to 49 years old and will slowly decline thereafter. These results therefore shows that aging really hamper the physical performance of an individual and as a person grow older, the strength deteriorates with age. However, in a separate study done by Arai et al. (2005) they investigated the impact of long term endurance training on the immune and endocrine system by elderly men. Data were collected through physical tests such as running. The data were collected from twenty elder recreational runners and 20 age-matched sedentary controls. The researchers aim to discover if elderly men who had long-term proper training can deteriorate due to aging factors. After the tests, results show that highly conditioned elderly men seem to have relatively better preserved immune system than the sedentary elderly men. Long-term endurance training has the potential to decelerate the age-related decline in immune function but not the endocrine, results show that the endocrine function on both the conditioned and sedentary elderly men were decreasing. A study conducted by Williams (2002) reveal that middle aged employees tend to be more responsible than the younger employees. Interviews were conducted in 10 companies in the greater Peoria, Illinois area to gather data. Participants include workers who are aged 40 to 60 years old. Results show that these middle aged workers are performing organizational citizenship. Since they are older than most employees, they tend to carry more responsibilities and they are frequently enjoying helping out those who are in need. Whenever they get the chance, they are very much willing to lend a helping hand. Organizational citizenship is recognized by some companies as grounds for promotion and for giving out bonuses thus, making middle aged employees the more likely recipient. Emotional Stability According to Hall et al. (2002), People are emotionally stable if they can control their emotions in a way that it is not a burden to themselves and to other people. It is concluded in their study that uncontrolled emotions can very much affect the relationship of one person to the people surrounding him. Once these emotions go out of control, it can turn into rage which will definitely be a telling factor in a person’s ability to co exist with others.
Greeley (1999) conducted a study about rage and how it develops in men aged 40 to 50 years old. Selected men from University Park, Pennsylvania were chosen to participate in the study. The results show that the selected men were very much receptive to rage when put in certain tight situations. Their ability to handle their anger is deteriorating and it makes them more prone to lash out. Psychosocial Needs Erik Erikson stated that people in the middle age are in the “Generativity vs. Stagnation” stage (Hall et al., 2002). The need to help the future generation arises. Since they have experience and are much more aware of what is happening around them, they tend to crave for mentorship and often want to be productive. Their selflessness show in this stage and they want to be of service in whatever way they can. This psychosocial crisis often leads middle aged people to guide the future generation and pass down whatever knowledge or experience that they have gained through the years. Work Experience Richardson (2002) conducted a research to know whether good working experience can equate to better working habits. In this research, Richardson selected 5 employees per department in a big corporation in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. He gave out survey sheets which aim to know about their work experience and their work habits. After the data were gathered, results showed that 74% of the employees said that they have good working experience and of these 74%, 89% have good working habits. 26% said that they don’t have good working experiences, and of these 26%, only 34% have good working habits. These results show that if an employee is having a good time at work, his working habits are better. In another study by Greene (2004), interviews were conducted to know whether work experience affects the resigning of employees. Data were gathered by interviewing recently resigned employees to know if their working experience played a part in their decision to end their career with the company that they were previously employed with. Results showed that work experience indeed plays a part in an employee’s decision to quit their job. Synthesis Looking through these journals, the researcher has seen various similarities and differences. For instance, Aksin et al. (2006) have paid attention to new management challenges that have been caused by emerging technologies. And of course they also paid attention to behavioral issues between the customer and the call center agent. While in another journal article of Hingst, (2004) it paid attention to how call center agents deal
60 with emotional stresses produced by working in a highly monitored environment. The conclusion is that the call center indeed is a pressure-packed place to work because of the environment and the customers. This result is thus related to the first study which is about the behavioral issues between call center agents and their customers. If we relate the call center studies to the aging or elderly studies. It would be fit to start in the fact that the researches in the aging studies show that the physical strength of an individual diminishes when he/she grows older. It will peak at some point but after that it will decline. Bongard et al. (2004) showed results that an individual’s physical strength will peak at age 35 to 40 and then slowly decline thereafter, another study by Arai et al. (2005) shows that even though an elderly individual has good conditioning, it will only be good for a short while, and that their level of conditioning is still much different from when they were a decade younger. Plus these good conditioning, according to their studies, does not really do well for the endocrine system which is partly responsible for an individual’s mood. If an elderly call center agent is more prone to mood swings, then the behavioral tension between him and a customer may escalate. If the elderly call center agent will lose control of his emotions then that would cause a problem in the workplace. That is what the study aims to know, if there are certain instances where their emotional backdrop has caused damage to their work experience. Work experiences, on the other hand, plays a vital role in an employees career. In the study by Richardson (2002), working experiences helped employees develop positive working attitude, and with positive working attitude comes productive work results, while in the study by Greene (2004), constructive working experiences have been a factor in the longevity of an employee’s career. If the employee is surrounded by good people, he chooses to stay longer in a certain company.
Method Research Design The researcher used a qualitative type of research. It was deemed appropriate that the qualitative type be used because it is known to be an effective type of research in the field of social sciences. The researcher conducted a semi-structured interview method in order to gather information regarding the topic. The nature of these interviews was free flowing open interviews in which the researcher asked questions and the interviewee answered these questions intelligently. Follow up questions were added according to the answers of the respondents. Interviews took at least 20 minutes as not to take up much of the respondents’ time. Interviews were documented through audio recording.
61 Instruments The researcher prepared a series of guide questions for the respondents to answer. These questions are related to the researcher’s topic regarding call centers and aging. It contains eight questions which themes vary from their job experiences, to aging problems, as well as their experience in dealing with the younger employees as part of their job. Sample questions are “What is your view of aging?” “How do you work with younger call center agents?” and “How does aging affect you physically, emotionally, and psychologically?” Research Participants The researcher used the purposive sampling method. Samples will be drawn from call center agents who are at least 40 years old and above. Purposive sampling method was used because the researcher only chose call center agents who are within a certain age limit. The researcher purposively selected 5 agents to be interviewed for the study. The researcher went to call centers and ask the HR department, and some of the researcher’s friends who are call center agents, if they have employees or co-workers who are 40 years old and above. If yes, the researcher will select them as respondents for the research. Locale of the Study Interviews were conducted on coffee shops or recreational areas around the work place of the respondents. This was deemed necessary in order to keep the respondents comfortable and to keep them from traveling to another place. These recreational areas can be parks, or malls, as long as the respondent is comfortable with the place. Procedure The researcher personally interviewed them at a time and place that they are comfortable. The respondents were asked at what time and dates are they available for the interview. The researcher conducted the interview at a coffee shop or recreational areas near the respondents’ work places. The interview was set to be free flowing because the researcher wanted the participants to feel at ease and for them to be able to express themselves more effectively. The interview is semi-structured which means the questions may add up according to the response of the respondents. Since the interview was free flowing, the researcher provided them refreshments. It is a way for the respondents to be comfortable and for the respondents to be able to answer the questions as interestingly and truthfully as they can.
62 Data Analysis Data were analyzed through full understanding of each interview. The interview was recorded through audio documentation and was later transcribed by the researcher. Every detail that the respondent gave out was properly documented and studied. The researcher classified which event or occurrences are frequent and which are rare. The researcher did these by comparing the answers of the respondents and getting what is the common response among them. This way, the researcher came up with an answer whether aging or being on the elderly population affects their work experience.
Results and Discussions Results All five agents have the same view of aging. They see aging as the evolutionary way of maturing and the further development of an individual. All of them also firmly believe that as we grow old, we gain more wisdom which sets the elderly apart from the younger generation. “Basically aging for me is growing old. You’re not getting younger but you are gaining more knowledge of the world. More wisdom.” -Agent #1 “…Pero kidding aside, pag tumatanda ka you develop further. I mean hindi lang physically ha, pero at the same time mas nagmamature yung pag iisip naten.” -Agent #2 They are also agreeing on the fact that they are not as physically strong as they used to be. Agent # 1 admitted to having a more mature look than his younger coworkers. She is 46 years old and has been working in the call center industry for 3 years. Her previous job was working as an accountant. “We get wrinkles. Lalo na sa forehead. We get gray hair, mga ganun.” -Agent #1 Agent # 2 admitted to having minor cases of arthritis, while the other agents have specified blurry eyesight, muscle pains, and deteriorating physical appearance as their main problems physically. Agent # 2 is 44 years old and has spent a year in the call center industry.
“Physically, jan pumapasok yung mga rayuma, arthritis, gray hair…” -Agent #2 Emotionally, they all admitted to having shorter patience when it comes to handling their emotional stress. Agent # 1 lets her emotions get the best of her when it comes to decision making. Agent # 3 unintentionally lets her anger out at his co-workers, while agent # 4 sometimes is having difficult time restraining her emotions. “I also sometimes let my emotion control my decisions.” -Agent #1 “…mas mabilis ako mainis. Minsan nalalabas ko sya sa mga co-workers ko although unintentionally naman.” -Agent #3 “…yung pagrestrain sa emotions ko. Minsan bigla na lang nag eexplode.” -Agent #4 Each and every one of the agents recognizes the fact that they have a huge age difference from their co-workers. They understand that they are in a different generation. So they are taking it upon themselves to bridge that gap. “…Parang open window, nakakalapit ako sakanila pag may kailangan ako, at the same time, nakakalapit sila saken when they need help.” -Agent #2 “I keep myself updated para hindi naman ako ma-OP sakanila.” -Agent #4 “I just try to be as approachable as I can para hindi sila ma-intimidate saken.” -Agent #5 Not all of them however, have had an easy time reaching out to their younger colleagues. Agent # 3 developed aloofness towards the other agents because of her age. She had to adjust rigorously in order to be at ease with the younger agents. “Actually it’s hard at first. I developed a little aloofness with them at first..”
64 -Agent #3 They simply reached out to the younger generation. They did not show tentativeness in talking to them and they even took the liberty to guide them since they have much better working experience. Dealing with a mad caller comes with being a call center agent. So how do they deal with it? Patience is the unanimous answer. All of the agents that patience will get you through these irate callers, if you have a short fuse, you lose. Sometimes when they are in a bad spot emotionally, they refer the caller to a different agent, but they never fight back. They all agree that patience is indeed a virtue of a call center agent. “It’s just a matter of having the patience… Being frustrated with irate callers will not help you.” -Agent #1 “…talagang kailangan mo ng pasensya when it comes to dealing with callers na may attitude.” -Agent #2 3 out of the 5 agents I interviewed agreed that call center is indeed an industry for the younger generation. Agents # 3 and 5 voiced out that they actually believe that the industry is not for older people. Agents # 3 and 5 are 47 and 43 years old respectively. Agent # 3 has been working in the call center for 4 years already while agent # 5 has spent 2 years. “Its true na konti lang yung mga matatandang call center agents…” -Agent #3 “totoo naman yun di ba? I mean talagang mas madami ang mga bata sa call center kesa samen na may edad na.” -Agent #5 They enumerated the facts: elderly people are not a common sight in call centers, and not all middle aged people are up for the ever changing schedule of the call center industry. But they did not rule out the reality that middle aged individual can survive if they have the tools to survive. They recognize that it is for the youth but they also see the fact that even if you are no longer in the younger population, it is still doable. Regarding health issues and its relation to their work performance, Agent # 1 has no health problems yet. Agent # 2 however, gets frequently sick and believes that only if
65 he is younger, he can avoid being sick and will be more efficient in his work. Agent # 3 has immune systems problems. Most of the time he develops colds which makes his work harder because of the speaking problems and the breathing problems it brings. Agent # 4’s asthma attacks is starting to bother her at work, this presents problems in her productivity. Agent # 5 is starting to develop rheumatism and high blood pressure. He is taking medications to keep his blood pressure in check. Most of the agents that I have interviewed are suffering from sickness because of deteriorating immune system. They all say that these conditions are affecting the way they do their job. “…Its true that when you grow old you develop a series of health problems, pero sa case ko wala pa naman. I’m healthy pa naman eh.” -Agent #1 “…mas mahirap yun samen na mas matatanda (getting sick), kung bata at healthy mas madaling mag adjust eh.” -Agent #2 “When I overdo myself yun yung madalas na cause ng sickness ko…Talagang immune system ang nagiging problema ko.” -Agent #3 “Ako kasi I have asthma, so I am getting treatments every now and then. I always bring my inhaler with me.” -Agent #4 “Ako personally I’m starting to develop rheumatism, tapos high blood pa ko…” -Agent #5 Most of the agents I interview came to work at call centers because of the pay. Agent # 1 needed money for his son’s college education. Agent # 3 and 4 had no source of income so they gave call center a shot. It was call center’s lucrative salary that lured them to working as agents. Agent # 5 however was bored from his previous work and decided to try out a different thing, which was being a call center agent. He lives near the company so he says that it is to his advantage. “Since my son is going to college, we needed the extra income.” -Agent #1 “…I mean the pay is good…I considered it because of the pay talaga.” -Agent #3 “Nagsawa lang siguro ako sa previous job ko.” -Agent #5
Overall, most of them one of them has a good working experience in the call center industry. Agent #1 says that the experience is good and hopes that it will only get better. Agent # 2’s working experience is good because of the good pay that he is receiving. Agent # 3 came off to a bad start because of aloofness to the younger agents but picked up and is now having a good time. Agent # 4 is also having a good experience because he learns different things while working such as flexibility and more patience. And agent # 5 is having a positive experience because of good and supportive coworkers. “It’s good pretty much. And I believe it will only get better.” -Agent #1 “It’s good kasi I get paid enough naman eh.” -Agent #2 “At first it was not very good for me…pero as time went by, it go easier.” -Agent #3 “Its good…kasi you develop a sense of flexibility dito eh.” -Agent #4 “Mababait lang siguro ang mga tao dito kaya hindi ako nahirapan.” -Agent #5 Discussion All of the agents that were interviewed for this research were in the middle adulthood stage, which means that they were starting to develop physical and emotional weakness, as well as much more complex psychological needs. They have their own reasons in entering the call center industry. When it comes to physical performance, results show that aging has already taken its toll on their performance at work. Some of the agents already have declining immune system which causes them to be sick and is affecting the way they do their job. These results are on the same page with the studies done by Bongard et al. (2004) which states that aging really has effects on a person’s physical performance. On emotional stability however, they all admitted that they had a difficult time handling their emotions and they sometimes succumb to emotional stress. But these emotional deficiencies have allowed them to look for useful ways to control themselves. They are tried hard to lengthen their patience when it comes to dealing with mad customers as to not let their emotions get the best of them. In Erik Erikson’s theory (Hall et al., 2002), middle aged individual tend to develop a guiding attitude towards upcoming generations. A sense of care is being established. The call center agents demonstrated this by reaching out to the younger agents. They took them under their
67 wing because they have better working experience and they also have accomplished more in life and in their careers. They shared their experiences and their knowledge to the younger generation for them to have a beacon of light to guide them as they go through life. These actions show that the middle aged agents that I interviewed are in the generativity stage. This is in line with the study conducted by Williams (2002) that older employees tend to perform as guide to the younger employees since it is very clear that they have more work experience. Organizational citizenship is evident at this age. Because they are continuing to be productive, they are not being stagnant, thus they are kept away from the stagnation stage.
Conclusion and Recommendation Conclusion Results show that they are having physical problems like rheumatism, declining immune system which makes them easy to catch sickness and all other changes in the physical appearance, but it is not stopping them from doing their work because they have their reasons to keep working. They believe that they are still being productive and they are not slowing down the company so they continue to work and they give it their best every time. Results also show that emotional stress is affecting them personally because the frustrations are sometimes hard to control because of their age but they are handling it well when it comes to work. They try to stay professional as they can be. Although sometimes emotional outburst occurs as to the case of some of the respondents but these outbursts never became grounds for them to be labeled as liabilities. When it comes to their psychosocial needs, they are fulfilled because they are serving as guides to the younger generation of workers. They can share their experiences and knowledge to those who need them which is what Generativity is all about. Therefore, according to these results, the researcher conclude that the middle aged call center agents have good working experiences despite the fact that they have big age difference between them and their younger co-workers. Recommendations It is not undeniable that they are still having a hard time, especially since most of them are developing physical problems. The researcher recommends that they do not force themselves with their work and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Eat properly and healthily so that they can compensate for their lack of sleep and energy. Always look out for their health because without it, they can never be productive call center agents. The researcher also recommend that the company take extra steps into making sure that they’re employees are staying in shape. Some activities they could make are arranging annual check ups, or maybe give out policies of health conditions such as guidelines for staying fit. They could also establish fun physical activities for the employees to take part
68 in. One call center agent also has problems in reaching out to his younger colleagues. He is slowly picking up on things but still has tendency to be aloof towards his co-workers. The researcher recommends that they establish a buddy system, for the elder employees to take younger employees under their wing. This way, it will be easier for the elder and younger employees to interact. Plus it keeps the middle aged employees who are in the Generativity stage satisfied because their psychosocial needs are being fulfilled at the same time. The researcher also recommends that the elder employees do some bonding with the younger employees. Instead of distancing himself, try to join their activities. Even though there is the age gap, at least you are trying to foster a healthy working relationship with them. With the effort comes the impression that you are really willing to blend with them and they will learn to accept you for it.
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Scale Establishment: Perceived Causes and Responses to Malicious Envy in the Workplace
Concepcion, Ken Edward H.
Knowing that envy is a common emotion present in our everyday lives, the main concern of this study is to establish a scale measuring the perceived causes and responses to malicious envy in the work place. Participants of this study comprised of former and current employees from a wide variety of organizations (N = 147) randomly selected through the use of simple random sampling. Using Malone’s (2006) 82 – item Perceived Causes and Responses to Malicious Envy Scale as framework, the researcher had established a 25 – item survey anchored on a 5 – point Likert – type scales: 12 items from the Causes of Malicious Envy Measure (α = 0.928; R = 0.779) and 13 items from the Responses to Malicious Envy Measure (α = 0.900; R = 0.615). Strengthened by high reliability and validity values computed via reliability analysis and multiple regression analysis respectively, the scales established are proven valid and reliable.
As human beings, we are endowed with emotions making us capable of feeling. Emotions, whether it be good or bad, is ubiquitous; it is always present at any place and at any time, especially in an organization. In an organizational context, there are different job situations that might affect the employee’s emotion either in positive or negative ways. One of the negative emotions frequently present on the job is envy. Envy is a feeling of discontent or jealousy, usually with ill will, at seeing another’s superiority, advantages, or success. Envy is a common emotion in our everyday lives, yet it is understudied and most important, it is harmful (Vecchio, 1995, 2000; Malone, 2004, 2006). Although few studies have addressed envy in the workplace, envy is a frequent occurrence in organizational settings (Vecchio, 1995, 2000; Malone, 2004, 2006). As some employees feel happy when they for instance receive promotions or salary increase, the others feel envious of them when they feel that they are better than that employee and that they should have had received the promotion or salary increase. Thus making them communicatively respond into negative ways which strongly affects the employee’s performance. The researcher aims to study malicious envy in the Philippine context; but since the topic is new and there are only very few studies with regards to malicious envy in the workplace, previous studies use the absolutist position perspective model in interpreting results. There are five general orientations in Philippine cultural studies and one of it is the absolutist position which assumes the basic congruence of psychological phenomena across humankind (Enriquez, 1994). Further, in his book ‘Pagbabangong – Dangal’, Enriquez wrote:
71 ‘The absolutist position seems little concerned with the problems of ethnocentrism or of seeing people “in their own terms.” Rather, psychological phenomena are considered to be basically the same across cultures: the essential character of, for example, “intelligence,” “honesty,” or “depression” is assumed to be the same everywhere, and the possibility is ignored that the researchers’ knowledge is rooted in their own cultural conceptions of these phenomena (cited from Berry et. al. 1992: 257).’ Hence, in view of the works of such previous researchers like Vecchio (1995, 2000) and Malone (2004, 2006), this study is designed to develop a scale that can measure the perceived causes and responses to malicious envy in the workplace. Using Malone’s (2006) original scales, the researcher aims to establish a reliable and valid scale that measures workplace envy specifically applicable to the Philippine setting. Malone’s (2006) original scales are a bit lengthy; thus, the researcher, too, aims to decrease the length of the scale to be established since too much items in a test would make respondents find it hard to sit through it. Theoretical Framework The figure below shows the theoretical framework of self – evaluation maintenance model (SEM) which we could use in relation to the development of envy in the workplace. Figure 1: Diagram of the Self – Evaluation Maintenance Model (SEM)
According to the SEM, people are motivated to maintain positive self – evaluations (Tesser, Miller, & Moore, 1988; Malone, 2006). The outstanding performance of a comparison other to oneself may trigger either a comparison or self – reflective process (Malone, 2006). According to the comparison process, when another outperforms the self on a task high in relevance to the self, the closer the other the greater the threat to self-evaluation; according to the reflection process, when another outperforms the self on a task low in relevance to the self, the closer the other the greater the promise of augmentation to self-evaluation (Tesser, Miller, & Moore, 1988). Analyzing the SEM model, envy in the workplace is firstly stimulated by the recognition of a comparison other or the envied employee. Recognition of a comparison other may be brought up by external occurrences such as when the observing competitor obtain a coveted promotion, salary increase or the likes. After recognizing the comparison other, the envious employee would either result into comparison or self – reflection. If the comparison process is triggered more by the event, the self – evaluation of the envious employee would be degraded. On the other hand, if the self – reflective process is triggered more, the self – evaluation of the envious employee would be enhanced.
Review of Literature Research about envy is indeed a new one in the field of research. Having envy as an emotion, it is hard to define what really it is and what constructs can be related to it. Hence, there are only few researchers who dared to study its complexity making resources regarding envy limited. Using 205 participants, Hill and Buss (2006) conducted a test to determine the specific predictions of design features of envy. Results revealed that when men and women were asked to write freeform about seven instances in which they felt envious of others, individuals were most likely to describe their same-sex friends as being the targets of their envy feelings. The second-most frequently cited targets of envy, although a distant second, were individuals’ same-sex siblings. These findings are consistent with the hypothesis that envy has been shaped by selection to facilitate social competition and that the target of our envy feelings should most frequently be these individuals with whom we are in the closest social competition for access to scarce resources. In addition, to determine how employees communicatively respond to their sense of envy in the workplace and what factors influence employees’ choices of communicative responses to their feelings of envy, Malone (2006) conducted two studies using both qualitative and quantitative methods. According to Malone’s researches, envy can either be benign or malicious; focus of her study was centered on the malicious type of envy since it is believed to be more harmful than benign envy. Using 271 graduate
73 students from departments across campus at The University of Texas at Austin for study one and 429 participants from a wide variety of organizations for study two, findings showed that there are numerous perceived causes of malicious envy and responses to malicious envy in the workplace and that there are a number of factors that are associated with how people communicatively respond to their feelings of malicious envy. Factors for causes of malicious envy included unfair, deserved, favorites, reward, misled, credit, and inadequate. Factors for responses to malicious envy included reassurance, negative emotion, commiserate, ignored, notice me, talk to boss, anger at job, negative other, and harassed. There were also numerous associations between causes and responses. Factors that affect communicative responses to malicious envy in the workplace include perceived causes, strength of malicious envy, a sense of injustice, a competitive organizational environment, organizational based self-esteem, and a sense of hostility. One surprising result indicated employees were more likely to respond in constructive ways before responding in destructive ways. On 2007, Cohen – Charash and Mueller examined how the interaction between perceived unfairness and episodic envy predicts interpersonal counterproductive work behaviors toward the envied other. In 2 studies using different samples and methods to elicit envy, predictions were compared based on the social exchange and attribution models of fairness. According to the results of Study 1, when envy is experienced in unfair situations, negative reactions to it are augmented. On the other hand, Study 2 found no support for the attribution model, which states that high self-esteem individuals experiencing envy will harm others in fair situations because these situations present a greater threat to self-esteem and stimulate greater motivation to equate the lots between the individual and the envied other. Having gathered such related literature, the researcher has come to conclude that envy, when triggered, can result in to different harmful effects. Envy can be triggered by such situations wherein the employees tend to feel inequality with regards to their working conditions or work outputs they receive (i.e. pay, benefits, promotions, etc.). In addition, envy can also be triggered by having a comparison other. People tend to equate all their prosperities by basing it to what their envied individual had received. Hence, when envy is triggered, different responses might take place. Most of the responses are negative and thus can definitely be harmful. When envy is developed in the workplace, job performance, productivity, and satisfaction of employees might be greatly affected. Thus, with the written literature stated above, this study is designed to develop and establish a scale that can measure malicious envy in the workplace. Since all of the previous studies conducted follow a westernized approach in dealing with envy, the researcher’s aim is to study envy in the Philippine context using a scale reliable and valid enough to determine what perceive to be the causes and responses of Filipino people towards workplace envy.
74 Method Research Design Development of a tool that measures malicious envy in the workplace is the aim of the study. With the use of Malone’s (2006) original survey questionnaire, the researcher carefully selected questions for both the perceived causes and perceived responses scale in order to establish a new scale. Originally, Malone’s survey consisted of 34 questions for the perceived causes and 48 questions for the perceived responses; and because the original survey was too lengthy, the researcher only selected two questions for each factors: 14 questions from the perceived causes and 18 questions for the perceived responses. As for the structure of the survey questionnaire, the first part consists of an open – ended question which only serves as a prompt in order for the participants to recall the envious event they had experienced. The rest of the questions on the survey are closed – ended and are anchored on a five – point Likert – type scales. Participants Participants of the study comprised of a total of one hundred forty – seven (N = 147) current and former employees from a broad spectrum of organizations. The reason for soliciting participants in varied types of organization is because the researcher aims not to limit the results only within one particular type of organization. Examples of organizations included education, banking, business process outsourcing, food, marketing/merchandise, real estate, health, human resource, information technology, and other government and nongovernment organizations. The participants for this study are selected through the use of simple random sampling technique. Because of the extensiveness of the research study, the demographics of the participants (gender, age, length of employment, etc.) were not included in the questionnaire since information about it has nothing to do with the scope of the study. Materials The survey was done mainly through the use of pen – and – paper technique; but since the study requires a very large number of participants, the researcher created an online version of his survey generated through the use of the website SurveyMonkey.com: an online server that aids in creating professional online surveys. Questions included in the survey were composed of some of the items that Malone (2006) used in her study. The first part of the survey is the open – ended question that serves as a prompt to have the participants’ recall the time wherein they felt
75 malicious envy in the work place. In addition they were asked regarding the nature of the relationship with the person they are envious of, type of organization they were engaged in during the envious event, and their job title, also, during that same envious event. The 32 survey questions anchored on a 5 – point Likert – type scales which consisted of 14 items from the Causes of Malicious Envy Measure and 18 items from the Responses to Malicious Envy Measure was the next part of the survey. After analyzing the test, some items were removed in order to increase reliability and validity values. From 32 items, the total number decreased to 25 survey questions, still anchored on a 5 – point Likert – type scales: 12 items from the Causes of Malicious Envy Measure and 13 items from the Responses to Malicious Envy Measure. Procedures First and foremost, the researcher studied the original survey questionnaires that were used by Malone (2006) during her study and carefully selected items to be included in the scale that the researcher aims to establish. Since one of the goals of the researcher is to decrease the total number of items in the survey questionnaires, only two questions per factor were selected for both the perceived causes and responses measure. The basis for the selection of test items was comprehension: the items carefully selected and included in the scale that the researcher wishes to establish were those questions that were easy to understand. Participant selection was done using simple random sampling. Participants were given a short background/introduction regarding the nature and the purpose of the activity. After gathering the participants and after assuring them of anonymity and confidentiality, they were asked to answer the survey questionnaire which consists of the several parts mentioned. The participants were given no time limit in completing the survey. During data gathering, the target number of participants was supposed to be 160; but due to time constraints and that some of the participants failed to answer the survey questionnaires properly, only 147 participants were asked to take part with the activity. Using the set of questionnaire with 32 items anchored on the 5 – point Likert – type scale, data were gathered and reliability and validity were run. Although results showed that grounds for reliability and validity were good enough, the researcher removed some of the items in order to increase the said values. The factors that hinder the increase in reliability values of the test were removed and reliability and validity analyses were again run by the researcher. From 32 items anchored on the 5 – point Likert – type scale, the total number of items was decreased to 25 items.
76 Statistical Analysis Since the researcher aims to develop a scale, reliability and validity of the test established must be checked. For reliability, reliability analysis was used. Reliability analysis provides information about the relationships between individual items in the scale. The Cronbach alpha was used by the researcher to determine reliability values since it is a model of internal – consistency. Likewise, multivariate analysis was run to check validity. Multivariate analysis considers the relationship among combinations of three or more variables. Specifically, multiple regression was used by the researcher to determine validity. Computation and analysis of the data gathered was made easy through the aid of statistical software SPSS ver. 15 and Microsoft Excel.
Results/Findings There are seven factors related to the perceived causes of malicious envy in the work setting. The researcher used the same labels used by Malone (2006) to establish consistency with the discussion. The seven factors are inadequate, which refers to the feeling of inadequacy; deserved which includes the feelings that participants deserve something the envied person received; favorites, which describes a sense that the boss is playing favorites; credit, which included the perception that the envied person received recognition of the respondents’ work; unfair, which included the perception that the situation was unfair; misled, which consisted of feelings of envious people had been promised something that was given to someone else; and reward, which included perceptions that the other received some kind of rewards that the respondents wanted. For the responses, nine factors were loaded. These are negative other, which refers to negative behavior directed at the envied person; talk to boss, which describes communicating with the boss regarding the envious event; commiserate, which refers to discussing the envious event to other who are sympathetic; negative emotion, which describes feeling negatively towards the envious event; anger at job, which includes responses directing anger towards the boss or the company; notice me, which includes responses designed to get others’ attention; ignored, which includes responses of acting like the situation does not bother the envious person; negative other, which directs negative behavior towards the envied person; harassed, which includes responses that annoy or bother the envied person; and reassurance, which includes responses of seeking reassurance from self or other people.
77 From the first set of survey questionnaires used in this study, grounds for reliability were established using SPSS’s reliability analysis. Computed alpha values for the causes and responses to malicious envy were 0.912 (α = .912) and 0.895 (α = .895) respectively. This only means that the survey questions generated by the researcher are reliable enough. According to Kaplan and Saccuzzo (2001), it has been suggested that reliability estimates in the range of .70 and .80 are good enough for most purposes in basic research. Although the scale already established a good ground for reliability, the researcher removed some of the items to both causes and responses measure in order to obtain higher reliability values of the instrument. The items bearing the factor of inadequate from the causes scale, as well as the factors ignored and harassed from the responses scale and one item from the reassurance factor were removed from the second set of questionnaire. These items were removed from the second set of test since results showed that these two factors have weak relationship towards responses of envy. When the said factors mentioned above were removed, reliability analysis was again computed for the new scale and the researcher was then able to establish a higher reliability value. From 0.912, the reliability value for the causes increased to 0.928 (α = . 928); while for the responses, the value of 0.895 increased to 0.900 (α = .9) Grounds for validity were likewise established by the researcher using multiple regression analysis. For the causes and responses scale of malicious envy in the workplace, computed R – values were 0.518 (r = .518) and 0.659 (r = .659) respectively. Again, as stated by Kaplan and Saccuzzo (2001), validity coefficients in the range of .30 to .40 are commonly considered high; although, one rarely sees a validity coefficient larger than .60. Hence, obtaining such high results proved that the test was valid enough. Because the researcher removed some of the items on the first set of survey questionnaires, multiple regression analysis was again rerun to ensure that the test was valid given the condition that some of the items on the first set of questionnaire were removed. For the perceived causes, a 0.779 (R = .779) validity value was computed while for the perceived responses, the computed validity value was 0.615 (R = .615). Even the validity value for the perceived responses slightly decreased, the scale is still valid since the calculated coefficient is high. Discussion Envy, like emotions are ubiquitous even in organizations. There are two types of envy as presented by Malone (2006) in her research: benign and malicious. Benign envy occurs when people do not view other’s prosperity with displeasure but rather view it with pleasure. They turn to admire the person gaining prosperity and serves as an inspiration to envious people. On the contrary, malicious envy occurs when people view other’s prosperity with displeasure, wishing that they should have what the other person gained. This type of envy might be harmful that is why it is the main focus of the
78 research. Because envy is a very broad construct, we can only measure it through the aid of scales. Hence, the main concern of this research study is to develop a scale that can measure what perceives to be the causes and responses of individuals to malicious envy in the workplace which has established a good ground for reliability and validity. Since studies in relation to envy are few and rather new, all of them follow an absolutist approach in interpreting results; that is why the researcher pursued the need to make a study regarding establishing a scale that is applicable to the Philippine culture. Malone’s (2006) survey, which consisted of 82 questions: 34 for the perceived causes and 48 for the perceived responses, was the foundation of the researcher’s scale establishment. Because the survey is too extensive, the researcher only included two items for each factor that loaded for both the perceived causes and responses to malicious envy. Making the test so long can be costly and can only make few people to be able to sit through it (Kaplan & Saccuzzo, 2001). Results based from the data gathered showed the computed alpha values of 0.912 and 0.895 for both the perceived causes and responses scale respectively. Thus, the researcher has proven that scale was reliable enough since in most researches, as explained by Kaplan and Saccuzzo (2001), reliability estimates in the range of .70 and . 80 are good enough. Reliability, as defined by F. J. McGuigan (2000), is the degree to which participants receive the same scores when repeated measurements of them are taken. Hence, in other words, it refers to the consistency of test results. Although the scale developed by the researcher already established a good ground of reliability, the researcher removed some of the items in the scale in order to increase the reliability values. As written in Kaplan and Sacuzzo’s (2001) book entitled Psychological Testing: Principles, Applications, and Issues: “... evaluators must be certain to minimize any error in classification. Thus, a test with a reliability of .90 might not be good enough.” For the second set of survey questionnaire, the items loaded under the factors of ignored and harassed and one item for the reassurance factor from the perceived responses to malicious envy scale were removed as well as the items loaded from the inadequate factor from the perceived causes to malicious envy scale. From the reliability analysis conducted from the first set of survey questionnaire established, the said items were removed since these items has the weakest relationship towards malicious envy; and thus when removed, would greatly increase the reliability of the scale. After removing the said items, reliability analysis was again run. From the alpha values of 0.912 for the perceived causes and 0.895 for the perceived responses, the reliability increased to 0.928 and 0.900 respectively. Once again, the researcher has proven that the scale established is a reliable tool.
Likewise, validity was taken into consideration by the researcher since it is an important factor, like reliability, in constructing tests. Validity would fall on how well a specific tool tends to measure what it’s supposed to measure (Calvento, 2007). The purpose of validity is to check whether different items on the test measure the same thing. From the first set of survey questionnaire, the researcher calculated the values of 0.518 and 0.659 for the perceived causes and perceived responses respectively. Normally, 0.30 to 0.40 validity coefficients are considered high (Kaplan & Saccuzzo, 2001). Hence, based from the computed values, the test is valid. Since the researcher removed some of the items on the survey questionnaire in order to raise reliability, validity was once again checked to determine whether the test is still valid. For the perceived causes, the computed value was 0.779; while for the perceived responses, a value of 0.615 was calculated. Although there happened to be a decrease in the validity coefficient of the perceived responses scale, the value generated is still high and is, therefore, valid. The original survey questionnaires used by Malone (2006) in her study has the following reliability values: for the causes, reliability was on 0.94 while for the responses, reliability was on 0.96. Comparing that of Malone’s and the researcher, the values obtained by Malone was quite high. Although, the scale established by the researcher is still reasonable since the reliability values obtained are just so tightly close to those of Malone’s. And most of all, the test established is more practical since the researcher has been able to reduce Malone’s 82 items to 25 with almost the same values for reliability. Conclusions and Recommendations In conclusion to the study, the researcher had established a reliable and valid scale that determines the perceived causes and responses of individuals to malicious envy in the workplace. This is strengthen and proven by the high values computed from the data gathered. For the Perceived Causes to Malicious Envy Scale, reliability value was at 0.928 while validity was at 0.779 (α = .928, R = .779). For the Perceived Responses, the obtained reliability value was 0.900 and the validity value was 0.615 (α = .900, R = 615). Having reliable and valid scales, what perceives to be the cause of malicious envy in the workplace and how do employees responds to it can now be determined. For further repetition and replication of the study, the researcher recommends including a much larger number of respondents to participate with the survey to obtain higher reliability values of the test. Also, items in the survey used in this study are based from Malone’s original work; so in terms of validity, the researcher suggests to generate other questions for the survey or to develop other factors related to the perceived causes and responses to malicious envy in the workplace that are applicable to our own culture.
80 If the test would be administered using the scales established by the researcher, it would be better if several other variables would be associated with envy like gender, age, length of employment, and the competitive environment of an organization. Participant selection must also be limited by the social economic status of the respondents. In addition, it would be interesting if the test would be conducted to participants coming from one organizational field of study; by doing so, future researchers could be able to compare the perceived causes and responses to malicious envy in different fields of different organizations.
81 References Calvento, M. C. A. L. (2007). Development of a behavioral Assessment for Highly – Functioning Pre – School Aged Children with Autistic Spectrum Disorder and Asperger Syndrome. Psychological Research 2007: Thesis Compilations of the Benedictine Psychological Society, Vol. 1, 30 – 47. Cohen – Charash, Y., & Mueller, J. S. (2007). Does Perceived Unfairness Exacerbate or Mitigate Interpersonal Counterproductive Work Behaviors Related to Envy?. Journal of Applied Psychology, Vol. 92, No. 3, 666–680. Enriquez, V. (1994). Indigenous Theorizing and Empowerment. Pagbabangong – Dangal Indigenous Psychology & Cultural Empowerment, 44 – 60. Hill, S. E., & Buss, D. M. (2006). Envy and Positional Bias in the Evolutionary Psychology of Management. Managerial and Decision Economics, 27: 131–143. Kaplan, R. M., & Saccuzzo, D. P. (2001). Psychological Testing: Principles, Applications, and Issues, 5th ed. Singapore: Wadsworth Thomson Asia Pte Ltd. Malone, P. C. (2004). Malicious Envy in the Workplace. Dissertation Presented to the Faculty of the Graduate School of The University of Texas at Austin in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy. Malone, P. C. (2006). Communicative Responses to Malicious Envy at Work. Dissertation Presented to the Faculty of the Graduate School of The University of Texas at Austin in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy. McGuigan, F. J. (2000). Experimental Psychology: Methods of Research, 7th ed. Singapore: Pearson Education Asia Pte Ltd. Tesser, A., Millar, M., & Moore, J. (1988). Some Affective Consequences of Social Comparison and Reflection Processes: The Pain and Pleasure of Being Close. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 54, 49-61. Vecchio, R.P. (1995). It’s Not Easy Being Green: Jealousy and Envy in the Workplace. Research in Personnel and Human Resources Management, 13, 201-244. Vecchio, R.P. (2000). Negative Emotion in the Workplace: Employee Jealousy and Envy. International Journal of Stress Management, 7, 161-179.
Level of Empathy and Work Experience: Predictors of Customer Satisfaction
Alvin Ryan A. Dizon
This study intended to determine which among the following independent variables namely, level of empathy and work experience were the best predictors of customer satisfaction. It focused on the study of contact personnel working as Customer Service Representatives in the most prominent industry now in the Philippines known as the Call Center. It covered the customer satisfaction attained by the 100 Call Center Agents. They ranged from 18-34 yrs old both male and female. Thru it, the best predictors of customer satisfaction was determined in relation to the different independent variables included in the study. Regression analysis was used to determine the best variables that can predict the dependent variable. The result showed that the level of empathy (p<.001) and work experience (p<.05) can predict the value of customer satisfaction. Therefore, the level of empathy and work experience were considered as the best predictors of customer satisfaction.
Business Process Outsourcing was considered to be one of the fastest growing industries now in the Philippines. It was more commonly known among Filipinos as Call Center. It was an organization that was known to offer product or service that was simplified as equipped by technology. As a global company, they were challenge with intense competition. In response to it, they focused on the expectation of the customers. It only means that customer satisfaction was a great deal in this industry that gives the researcher the intention to have a study on it. Customer satisfaction in this study was about the assurance that the personnel meet the expectation of the customer. The Customer Service Representative has a big role on this especially about the quality of service that they give to the customers. It is also important for the companies’ continual growth because it is linked to the retention of customers and even some referral that leads to expansion and new source of customers. Some factors help the behavior of the personnel to develop for the satisfaction of the customer needs. Those were the level of empathy and work experience. Work experience is referred to as how long a personnel works as a Customer Service Representative. The other factor was the level of empathy, which pertains to the level of the individual’s ability to put him or herself on the situation of others. The study is about the best-fit model that can predict the value of customer satisfaction. The variables that were included in this study were level of empathy and work experience as introduced by other researches concerning the study of attaining customer satisfaction. It also identifies the independent variable that has the strongest effect or the ability to predict the value of customer satisfaction. In this study, the variables were gathered and tested to find out if they were included or excluded in the model that can predict the dependent variable’s value.
As stated on this research, customer service is concerned with the Call Center Representative’s interaction with the customers. What the researcher meant here is that the contact personnel need to enhance their sensitivity to the customer’s needs in order to meet their expectations. This is done thru rapid perception with the senses, reacting to small changes. It is also done thru responding appropriately to the emotions or situation of other people. Through these, the customer’s satisfaction will be achieved. Conceptual Framework
Level of Empathy
Fig.1 Level of Empathy and Work Experience as Predictors of Customer Satisfaction According to the study of Peppers and Rogers (1999) the contact personnel have attributes that serve as means to attain customer satisfaction. These attributes were gathered by the researcher to come up with a set of variables that can predict customer satisfaction. Figure 1 was composed of the possible predictors of customer satisfaction such as the work experience and level of empathy. Work experience as used in this research, refers to the length of time that an individual has been a customer service representative. The level of empathy was the ability of an individual to put him or herself on the situation of others and it is measured thru the used of the level of empathy scale by Mayer and Caruso (2000). As figure 1 showed there were factors that predict customer satisfaction. Those factors have their own predictive effect to the dependent variable. This study intended to compile them into one model that can be considered as the best predictor of customer satisfaction.
Review of Related Literature Customer Satisfaction Customer Satisfaction means ensuring that the product or service performance meets customer expectations (Bluel and Hack, 1999). However, here in this study, it focuses mainly on one of its concept, which is the service performance of the contact personnel. The customer’s perception is the basis for the success of the business because it serves as the standard for the company to attain satisfaction. Customer satisfaction occurs when the acquisition of services provides a minimum negative departure from expectations when compared with other acquisitions. It also occurs when the perception of the reward from the customer’s purchase of services meets or exceeds his or her perceived sacrifice. Perception is a consequence of matching purchase and consumption experiences with the current purchase, transaction, or request for service. Customer Service Representatives in call centers provide an important point of contact with customers. Unfortunately, research has shown that customer satisfaction levels with call-centre service are significantly lower than with equivalent face-to-face services (Bennington, Cummane and Conn, 2000). This is of vital importance, since customers who are satisfied with the service they receive are more likely to continue patronizing the company (Lervik-Olson and Johnson, 2003), and more likely to recommend the firm’s service to others. Therefore, there is a great need for companies to study how customer satisfaction can be attained. To improve the service, the industries think of a much better solution on the competitiveness of the said business and they come up with a practical solution of improving the customer-relationship management (Peppers and Rogers, 1999). It is a process where in the customers give suggestion to the owner of a said business about what he/she knows about the expectation of the customers regarding the business itself, the product that they produce and the quality of service that they offer. Nevertheless, the mechanics of implementation is complex because it involved employees’ behavior towards the customer and its role is an integral part of the business itself. Training to be warm and attentive is essential and it suggests the reconfiguration of the product or service to meet the customer’s needs. To develop a good relation with the customers they have develop a program about it. It is known as the Customer Relation Management (CRM). Customer Relationship Management’s definition is also its ambition: the development and maintenance of mutually beneficial long-term relationships with strategically significant markets (Buttle, 2000). Its focus is to create value for the customer. Companies’ gives recognition to the importance of being close to the customer, so there are significant technological advances, which are enabling customised value propositions to be developed, communicated and delivered to customers. The penetration of computer hardware,
85 software and telephony into supplier and customer environments has enabled closer relationships to be developed. But most of all is the ability of the contact personnel to interact with the customers. As of the present, organizations are faced with intense global competition, demanding customers with rapidly changing desires. Due to the increasing number of customers in international industries; there are shrinking response times, and more rapid product life cycles and demanding employees. Add e-commerce and the trend accelerates exponentially. All the comfortable corporate frictions--geographical distance, price opacity, unquestioning brand allegiance and so forth--that preserved organizational inefficiencies and status quo jobs are quickly disappearing. In response to the current trend, the best companies are forced to become fast, flexible, and participative and must focus on customers, competition, teams, time and processes (McCormack, 2001). These new organizations have been described as "horizontal" or "process centered." Factors Affecting Customer Satisfaction Work Experience The work experience here is defined as the time where in the personnel is working as a customer service representative whether in years or months. The importance of this factor is that it gives the individual the experience he/ she needs to perform the job well. The particular experience they have makes them familiar on how to react on certain situation while working. To improve competitiveness, it is vital for education and business to have a work experience to ensure that individuals are better prepared for the world of work, with the necessary skills and motivation (Clarke and Jones, 2005). It is also an advantage for them because it equips them with the basic knowledge. In some way, it also affects the level of their empathy due to the adjustment in relating to the customers concerns and meeting their expectations. In this research, the researcher identified its individual effect as a predictor of customer satisfaction. Empathy The importance of having a good behavior is best in doing effectively the role of contact personnel that is why this research will determine the best trait to enhance and ensure the high level of customer satisfaction. As far as this study is concern, one of the best traits that seem to have an impact on having a good relationship with customers is developing empathy. It is value that is more than sympathy in a way that it puts someone on the situation of the other. Thru it, there would be an innate connection between the personnel and customer. Empathy is appreciating the inner state of others (Banmen, 2000). Empathy is often associated with the sensing of others' feelings, but because feelings are only part of
86 our inner state, empathy is much more than appreciation of feelings. One model of inner state is the Personal Iceberg, used by Virginia Satir. In this model, inner state is a hierarchy of copings, feelings, perceptions, expectations, yearnings and ultimately the self. They called it an "iceberg" because so much of it is out of view. Empathy is appreciating all of these elements in others. Empathy is not only to inspire others, but also when we are figuring out how to express something, or even whether to express it. In deciding, there is a need to sense what are the impacts of various options might be, which requires empathy. The importance of having empathy is not bounded by any limitation. It can be useful to all aspects especially in industrial and all features of customer related businesses. In this study, empathy is related on how it affects the performance of customer service representatives. Empathy here is use as a tool to give a high quality of service to gain customer satisfaction. Synthesis Now that the Call Center industry is on its peak; competition is intense so there is a need for companies to develop more in relating to their customers. The reason for this study is to identify the factors that can improve the ability of the companies to attain customer satisfaction. As based from the study of Peppers and Rogers (1999) Customer Service Representatives in call centers provide a point of contact with customers. From it customer-relationship management is given attention. It is about the behavior of employees towards their customers. The attribute that contact personnel possess is needed to be studied in relation to how it would help in attaining customer satisfaction. Those attributes are the level of empathy and work experience. These factors have an individual predictive effect to customer satisfaction.
Methodology Research Design The research used a quantitative method. Work experience and level of empathy were measured whether they predict customer satisfaction. Regression analysis was used to determine the best-fit model that can predict customer satisfaction and which among the above mentioned variables was the best predictor.
87 Participants The researcher selected 100 Customer Service Representatives residing at Lipa City, Batangas. All the participants work in one company. Half of them were males and the other half were females. The age range of the participants was 18-34 years old. Materials A standardized Empathy Scale was used in this research (Mayer and Caruso, 2000). That was a multi-dimensional scale that consists of 30 items which contains 15 positively-worded and 15 negatively-worded items. The test was scored thru the selection of numbers from one to five, with one as strongly disagree and five as strongly agree but some questions were scored in reverse. Those were the negatively worded items. In addition, there were portions for other information such as length of work experience, age and gender. Procedure The participants were selected randomly thru stratified sampling. Before the test was administered every participants was given a form that states the reason for conducting the study and its limitations. The survey was administered according to the availability of the participants. The survey questionnaire was given individually. The data such as age, gender and length of work experience were gathered for their use in the study. Their grade for customer satisfaction was provided by their performance metrics which was given to them by their company. The participants were scored thru the standardized computation provided by the level of empathy scale. Then the data were computed and interpreted thru the use of SPSS, if it supports the assumption of the researcher. In the interpretation, the independent variables were either included or excluded in the model that predicts the value of customer satisfaction. Thru it, the best predictor was identified and the assumption of the researcher was proven. Statistical Analysis The data were analyzed using SPSS. Linear regression analysis was used to determine which among the variables namely; level of empathy and work experience can predict customer satisfaction.
88 Result The research was conducted at Lipa City, Batangas where the researcher asked 100 Customer Service Representatives about their grade. They were also given a survey questionnaire that is comprised of the level of empathy scale and other relevant information. Thru it, the following results were gathered: Customer Satisfaction The highest customer satisfaction that an agent can attain was 100 and the lowest was 75. The average customer satisfaction of male was 91.74 and the female has 89.32. Their score mean were high, based from the company’s perspective. It shows that the average customer satisfaction among male contact personnel is slightly higher than female.
In model 1, based from the data above level of empathy (p<.001) predicts the value of the dependent variable. It also has β=.398 that implies that it has a moderate positive relationship with customer satisfaction. In model 2, the combination of level of empathy (p<.001) and work experience (p<.05) also predicts the value of customer satisfaction. Work experience has β= .200 that implies that it has a weak positive correlation with customer satisfaction.
In model 2 above, the combination of level of empathy and work experience (p<.001) is the best-fit model to predict the value of customer satisfaction, out of all the variables that were tested. Discussion From the results it was seen that the level of empathy (p<.001) can predict the value of the dependent variable. It has β=.398 that implies that it has a moderate positive relationship with customer satisfaction. It only means that as the value of level of empathy increases the value of customer satisfaction also increases and vice versa. Work experience (p<.05) also predicts the value of customer satisfaction. Work experience has β= .200, implies that it has a weak positive correlation with customer satisfaction. It means that the longer the work experience of an individual the higher the possibility the he / she gain a high customer satisfaction. However, it is noticeable from the result that level of empathy is stronger than work experience as a predictor of customer satisfaction. The combination of level and empathy and work experience (p<.001) is the bestfit model to predict the value of customer satisfaction, out of all the variables that were tested. It only means that in order to attain customer satisfaction a personnel must have a high level of empathy and long period of related work experience. As cited on the study of Peppers and Rogers (1999), customer relationshipmanagement is a better solution to attain customer satisfaction. It only means that the personnel should attain valuable attributes that can help to achieve customer satisfaction. Base from the result it pertains to level of empathy and work experience. The level of empathy and the work experience of the participants register a relationship to customer satisfaction. Thru the model provided by the regression analysis, the best-fit model is determined in order to prove the objective of the researcher. It was also proved from the results that the best variable that can predict customer satisfaction is the level of empathy. Though work experience registers a relative effect as well, it is seen that the relationship
90 to the dependent variable is not that strong as compared to the first variable. However, if they were combined in a model the effect to predict the value of customer satisfaction is stronger. This research expanded the study of how the company would be able to attain customer satisfaction. Some of the recent studies focused on the means of ensuring that product or service performance meets customer expectations (Bluel and Hack, 1999). This study is slightly similar to it, because it gives a new approach by focusing on how to determine customer satisfaction thru other factors beside the ability of the personnel to speak English fluently. The study introduced some relative factors that can help the company to attain customer satisfaction in order for their business to continually progress. It also acknowledges the relevancy of the valuable attributes of the agents as a benefit for the industry. The result is consistent by determining the best-fit model to achieve customer satisfaction. It was able to determine from the different independent variables, which can predict the dependent variable. As the result indicated not all the seemingly predictors of customer satisfaction can predict the value of it. It is because base from the outcome some of the variables included in the study has been excluded on the model that can predict customer satisfaction. The reason why not all the variables included in the review of related literature becomes a predictor of customer satisfaction, is that some of the variables seems to be a predictor of customer satisfaction but it does not give a relative effect on it. Conclusion and Recommendation Based on the results, the best-fit model that can predict the value of customer satisfaction is the combination of level of empathy and work experience. Moreover, the best variable that can predict the value of customer satisfaction is the level of empathy. The result implies that the higher the level of empathy, the higher the possibility that an individual can attain customer satisfaction. The same with work experience the longer a personnel work in a related job the higher is his/ her capability to satisfy his/her customer. With the combination of the two factors the level of attainment of customer satisfaction was great. The outcome of this study is beneficial for academic references. It can be used as a reference for other students who have the same interest to study the predictors of customer satisfaction as a requirement of the course they have taken. It was also useful to some industries that in lined with offering of service or products. Customer satisfaction is a great deal with businesses in order for them to prosper and develop. Thru this study, they were informed about the other factors that contribute to attain customer satisfaction. It can be used by the Human Resources Management as a basis for their employment policies and how to improve the work organization. It also introduced a new approach in employee selection such as determining the level of empathy of the applicant and knowing the length of work
91 experience. In this process, they could use empathy scale to determine the level of empathy of their applicants and they could formulate new policies or strategies for employee retention. Thru it, they would be able to select qualified applicants for the job and as well attain customer satisfaction.
References Books: Cohen, M. & John, W. (1993). "Robust, Smoothly Heterogeneous Variance Regression". Journal of the Royal Statistical Society. Series C (Applied Statistics). New York: Sage Publications. Peppers D., Rogers M. & Dorf B.(1999). The One to One Fieldhook: The Complete Toolkit for Implementing a 1 to 1 Marketing Program .Chicago: University of Chicago Press Satir, V., & J. Banmen, J. (2000). The Satir Model: Family Therapy and Beyond. Palo Alto: Science and Behavior Books. Michigan: St. Lucie Press Journals: Bennington, L., Cummane, J., & Conn, P. (2000). Customer Satisfaction and Call Centers: An Australian Study. International Journal of Service Industry Management 11 (2), pp. 162-173. Buttle, F. (2000). The S.C.O.P.E. of Customer Relationship Management Australia,pp. 2. Caruso, D. R., & Mayer, J. D. (1998). A Measure of Emotional Empathy for Adolescents and Adults. Unpublished Manuscript. Clarke, C. & Jones, D. (2005). Work Experience: A Guide for Employers, pp.2 McCormack, K. (1999). "The Development of a Measure of Business Process Orientation," paper presented at the European Institute for Advanced Studies in Management's workshop on organizational design, pp. 4-5 McCormack, K. (2001). "The Development of a Measure of Business Process Orientation", 01-05 McCormack,K.&Johnson,W., (2000). Business Process Orientation: Gaining the EBusiness Competitive Advantage. St Lucie Press, Delray Beach, FL.pp. 8-9 Johnson, L.K. (2006). Successful Business Process Outsourcing, Sloan Management Review, V47, no 2. pp. 5-6.
Electronic Sources: Wuensch, K.. (October 4, 2005). “What is a Likert Scale? And How Do You Pronounce’ Likert” East Carolina University. http://core.ecu.edu/psyc/wuenschk/StatHelp/Likert.htm. Retrieved April 30, 2009. Notes: Richard B. (2004). Regression Analysis: A Constructive Critique, Sage Publications.
Job Satisfaction of Call Center Agents’ and Its Relation to Customer Satisfaction
Espiritu, Mikhail-David L.
The aim of this study was identifying if there is a correlation between Customer Satisfaction and Job Satisfaction. The study covered 200 call center agents from a single department in a call center located in Pasay area, male and female. The study was done quantitatively using surveys for identifying job satisfaction and a customer satisfaction metric of each agent. The results concluded that there is a moderate degree of correlation between the two variables. Research results showed that Job Satisfaction is significantly correlated to Customer Satisfaction with a Pearson r of 0.739 and with a p-value < 0.01.
As we all know today in our country the most popular and dominant industry where employment is easily accessed are call center industries. These companies offer a tempting amount of salary which would help those individuals to choose their kind of work. The call center community in the Philippines is rapidly growing because of the demand for call center related jobs. A significant number of working Filipinos have found themselves a new career in the call center industry. As call center employees increase in number there would be some or a large number who would become satisfied with their jobs. One way that would help determine how we can identify their job satisfaction is by viewing their productivity in performance. According to Colin Taylor, CEO of The Taylor Reach Group, a contact-center consultancy, an accurate indication of productivity rests in qualitative metrics, like firstcall resolution and customer satisfaction. Customer satisfaction is the variable used in this study to determine the productivity of call center agents. In determining the customer satisfaction as a base of employee’s performance can be a primary help in appraising their productivity. Through understanding their satisfaction with their job, we can identify how the call center agents’ create customer satisfaction. In this paper, the researcher discussed how job satisfaction can be observed relationally with a specific job performance metric taken from several classes of metrics. Each employee has an interval performance assessment which is called the performance metrics. The performance metric which was correlated with the job satisfaction is the customer satisfaction metric taken from the call center agent’s clients. This study helps determine how we can correlate both the variables and how we can appraise job satisfaction through his or her performance of customer satisfaction metric. The aims of this study are to identify if there is a correlation between job satisfaction and performance through customer satisfaction metric which is a key performance indicator, to identify how job satisfied call center agents are, and to distinguish how high these call center agents’ perform in terms of their customer satisfaction metric. The significance of this study contributes to call center companies’ process by being aware of their representatives’ performance and satisfaction. Identifying the
95 customer’s satisfaction through job performance and satisfaction can help develop the well being of the representatives to help the company maintain their good line of positive and productive employees. Figure 1.0 Job Satisfaction and Customer Satisfaction
In this study there are two variables which are job satisfaction and customer satisfaction. Job satisfaction based on definition is a worker's sense of achievement and success and is generally perceived to be directly linked to productivity. Job Satisfaction is the independent variable as it is identified to have a relation with productivity. A hypothesis for this study is job Satisfaction will affect or can affect customer satisfaction if the job satisfied employee performs productively. If the agent performs productively then it would mean that the customer will receive good quality of service effectively. According to the International Organization for Standardization, Total Quality Management is a management approach for an organization, centered on quality, based on the participation of all its members and aiming at long-term success through customer satisfaction, and benefits to all members of the organization and to society. The approach aims at achieving success and customer satisfaction through embedding an awareness of quality all the way through a business, through planning and feedback. In effect of this approach, the management seeks satisfaction not only for customers but for employees as well to further better relationships and create opportunites for employees to become commited to their jobs. Relating this system to the study most companies would encourage or demand that employees work with quality and productivity for the customers to achieve good satisfaction and feedback from the clients. The customer satisfaction metric of the call center agent would be the basis score of work performance. Customer satisfaction metric was chosen from a list of performance metrics. It was the variable to be used because of its accurate indication of productivity. Basically it would define that customer satisfaction would occur if the job
96 satisfaction measure would be observed to be highly leveled depending on the work performance of the call center agent.
Review of Literature Call Centers to date are globally competitive and rising companies that provide business to their customers efficiently and with quality of service. There is a great demand for call centre representatives as the growth rate of call centers continues to increase around the globe. In this section, we must review and understand the terms, subjects and variables which will be studied and analyzed throughout the study. Call Centers All of what is being studied here revolves around call centers or customer service. Call centers are “specialized organizational units providing telephone-based customer services” (Kleemann & Matuschek, 2002, p.1). The Call Center Association defines a call centre as “a physical or virtual operation within an organization in which a managed group of people spend most of their time doing business by telephone, usually working in a computer-automated environment” (Marr & Neely, 2004, p. 5). The word ‘call center’ is sometimes used synonymously with ‘contact center’ and ‘helpdesk’. Taylor and Bain (1999) cited in Dean (2002) define call centers in terms of three components. Firstly, the call center is a dedicated operation where the central focus of call center representatives, is on customer service. Secondly, these representatives make use of the telephones and computers simultaneously. And thirdly, “the calls are processed and controlled by an automatic distribution system” (Dean, 2002, p. 414). The central aim of call centers is to enable an organization to foster better customer relations by providing answers to customers’ complaints and solutions to their problems quickly and with the required information. For this goal to be achieved, Call Centre Representatives (CCRs) need to be adequately trained so that they have the necessary information at their disposal. The strong focus in call centre environments on efficiency and control is not only reported to result in high levels of employee stress and turnover, but also on a lack of focus on customer orientation and service priorities, which contributes to the difficulty frontline staff have in being customer orientated (Knights & McCabe, 1998; Taylor & Bain, 1999; Wallace et al., 2000 all cited in Dean, 2002).
97 Job Satisfaction Job satisfaction, a worker's sense of achievement and success, is generally perceived to be directly linked to productivity as well as to personal wellbeing. Job satisfaction implies doing a job one enjoys, doing it well, and being suitably rewarded for one's efforts. Another description states job satisfaction as a positive feeling about one’s job resulting from an evaluation of its characteristics (Robbins, 2002). The Human Relations movement, of Elton Mayo and others believed that job satisfaction had beneficial effects, including increased job performance. Although some researchers used to believe that the relationship between job satisfaction and job performance is a management myth, a review of 300 studies suggested that the correlation is pretty strong. For the organization, job satisfaction of its workers means a work force that is motivated and committed to high quality performance. It is important to note that the literature on the relationship between job satisfaction and productivity is neither conclusive nor consistent. In order to clarify, the meaning of "job satisfaction" it is useful to differentiate it from employee morale. The two concepts are very closely related, and some authors treat them as synonymous; however, job satisfaction, as Locke (1976) describes, differs from employee morale in two respects. Firstly, job satisfaction refers to a single individual and his/her job situation, whereas employee morale focuses more on how an employee relates to a sense of common (or group) purpose within an organization. Secondly, job satisfaction more appropriately addresses past and present situations, while morale addresses feelings about the future. Another definition used in the organization, job satisfaction of its workers means a work force that is motivated and committed to high quality performance. Increased productivity—the quantity and quality of output per hour worked—seems to be a byproduct of improved quality of working life. It is important to note that the literature on the relationship between job satisfaction and productivity is neither conclusive nor consistent. However, studies dating back to Herzberg's (1957) have shown at least low correlation between high morale and high productivity, and it does seem logical that more satisfied workers will tend to add more value to an organization. Unhappy employees, who are motivated by fear of job loss, will not give 100 percent of their effort for very long. Though fear is a powerful motivator, it is also a temporary one, and as soon as the threat is lifted performance will decline. Customer Satisfaction Customer satisfaction which was chosen to be the dependent variable was taken out of a list of key performance indicators or performance metrics. Customer satisfaction is another critical factor in call centers and related to it is customer service. Moshavi and Terborg (2002) claim that customer satisfaction is dependant on the level of job satisfaction and motivation of the service provider. Customer satisfaction is critical to business success. Key performance indicators are key parameters that serve to allow
98 managers to get an idea of how particular aspects of a process or organization are performing. In the case of call centers, some metrics include average handling time, or the time that it takes for an agent to wrap up a query, and customer satisfaction ratios. These metrics are important strategic tools, as they allow managers to keep track of employee and department performance accurately. Customer satisfaction was chosen to be liable with the independent variable because in order to accurately receive performance measure is by really emphasizing how the performance in effect happened to the clients of the employees. If the clients were satisfied with the service given to them then it would mean that there was significant effort in performance to attain that customer’s satisfaction. An increasing number of companies are realizing the importance of customer service in their organizations. “Today’s call center customers want better service” (Marr & Neely, 2004, p.7). Customer service is “all about ensuring that the customer is completely satisfied” (Lyons, 1997, p. 3). Naumann and Giel (1995) suggest that there is a major paradigm shift in traditional practices taking place in organizations resulting in businesses becoming more customer -driven. Hence the need for customer services in call centers should be no different, since the key function of call centers is to provide outstanding customer service to its clients. McNealy (1996) mentions that the number one reason why organizations lose customers is as a result of customer service problems, which in turn lead to customer dissatisfaction. Some experts define customer satisfaction “as an evaluation of product or service in terms of whether that product or service has met their needs and expectations” (Marr & Neely, 2004) while others define customer satisfaction “as the result of a customer’s assessment of a service based on a comparison of their perception of service delivery with their prior expectations” (Marr & Neely, 2004). Simplistically stated, customer satisfaction can be described as the extent to which the customer is satisfied with the product or service provided in terms of his or her expectations. This idea is supported by Naumann and Giel (1995) who adds “it costs five times as much to obtain a new customer than it does to retain current customers.” The essence of customer satisfaction is “that we are delighting our customers by exceeding their needs and expectations” (McNealy, 1996). Customer satisfaction is critical to organizations as it has a significant impact on customer retention and repeat business (McNealy, 1996). According to Moshavi and Terborg (2002), customer satisfaction is dependant on the level of job satisfaction and motivation of the service provider since satisfied employees are more likely to cooperate with the customer in a helpful manner. Studies report customers experience higher satisfaction and quality of service when the employees serving them are satisfied at work (Moshavi & Terborg). Hersch (2003) claims companies spend about 96% of their budgets to staff in compensation, training and equipment and a mere 4% of that budget on the actual building in which the employees work. He suggests that simple changes such as installing adjustable chairs or creating attractive cubicles and workspaces can result in
99 positive outcomes such as increased agent retention, improved productivity and customer satisfaction. Customer Satisfaction as a Metric of Performance Studies by Bennington and Cummane (1998a) in Bennington et al. (2000) state customer satisfaction is notably higher with face-to-face services than with call center services in the human arena. McNealy (1996) further mentions that world class organizations view customer satisfaction as the critical tool in achieving their objectives. Moshavi and Terborg (2002) mention that customer satisfaction is a critical measure of performance for CCRs, hence the reason for including this variable in the present study. Marr and Neely (2004) report customer satisfaction measures should begin with an understanding of customers. Since good communication skills is a core competency of CCRs, the importance of listening to the customer is of paramount importance as this will help the CCR to “understand the customer’s needs and requirements from their perspective, detect failures, bottle necks, or improvement potential deliver service that satisfies the customer” (Marr & Neely, 2004, p. 4). McNealy (1996) claims that if an individual is truly committed to achieving customer satisfaction, an individual will see the customers as the most important person in any business, people upon whom individuals are dependent, the person or people who make it possible to pay our salaries and someone who is deserving of the most courteous and attentive treatment individuals can give them. Synthesis Customer satisfaction is a very important tool in assessing the performance of the companies’ employees. The customer satisfaction measure is determined to see how well the customer’s expectations were given or handled. Call centers, because of their rising dominancy in number of companies and employees, have used these metrics to ensure the quality of products and the productivity of employees to maintain their ranks in the business industry. Job satisfaction is also important for company evaluation because in the process of selling or advancing their service, that service must be given by satisfied employees to ensure that the quality of service would be given accurately. The question that would also be asked in this study is how can these results help in the well-being of the employee? Is there really a relation between job satisfaction and customer satisfaction in call centers? Does a highly satisfied employee make their customer satisfied? The basis of this research is to know the relation between the two variables. And if the two are correlated how high is the efficiency of the results.
100 Method Design The study took place using a quantitative design wherein surveys were used to collect information regarding job satisfaction while in-house metrics were obtained from a supervisor concerning customer satisfaction metric. Participants The participants of this study were chosen from one specific call center company. The numbers of participants are 200 call center agents. There is no age limit for any participant chosen. There is also no specific gender for this study. The participants were aware that there specific performance measure which is the customer satisfaction metric was also asked of from their supervisor. The sampling method that was used in choosing participants was purposive sampling. The purpose of selecting the call center agents is that they must either have their customer satisfaction metric respectively or that metric would be supplied by the supervisor of those respondents. Materials Job Satisfaction Survey The questionnaire is a 10-item Likert Scale of Job Satisfaction which composes single-item questions. The survey was taken from a previous study (Macdonald, 1997) which covered the job satisfaction of different occupational groups. Since most job satisfaction surveys are done using questionnaires, an existing job satisfaction questionnaire, a Job Satisfaction Scale, was used in this study. Based on the previous research about the survey, the various facets of job satisfaction with single items of this generic scale were made in order to cover the widest possible domain. The results of the previous scale study indicated that the combination of the facets approach and the general approach can be successful because the model of job satisfaction presented focuses on the reaction to events rather than the events themselves. Analysis showed that objective characteristics of a job account for only a small percentage of the variance in job satisfaction. An additional advantage of this type of model is that although idiosyncrasies in the individual or the workplace exist, the focus remains on the respondent's evaluation of his/her satisfaction with that job. In choosing an appropriate scale an individual also has to look at issues of reliability and validity. The Cronbach Alpha Reliability value for the scale was .77. In interpreting the over-all score the following were used for the total value of the scale: 4250 Very High Satisfaction, 39-41 High Satisfaction, 32-38 Average Satisfaction, 27-31
101 Low Satisfaction and 10-26 Very Low Satisfaction. Spector (1997) states that most job satisfaction studies are done using questionnaires, as interviews are not only timeconsuming but expensive too. The researcher has chosen to use this particular survey to measure the job satisfaction of the agents, as it is affordable, is reported to have a high degree of validity and reliability and it is appropriate for the study. Customer Satisfaction Metric Customer Satisfaction in the present study is determined from the existing questionnaires and surveys used in the company. These questionnaires that were already administered by the company are used to achieve the response of the customers to the service they receive from the call center representatives. This helps the company appraise the performance of their representatives by measuring the response of customer satisfaction which is one metric from several other performance metrics. The questionnaires were designed in-house and approved by the department. Measurement of customer satisfaction is done at monthly intervals and in percentage value. Operational measures such as average call time, quality of service and other key performance indicators related are indicative levels of customer satisfaction. The interpretation of the data are as follows: 85% and below – needs improvement, 86-89% low meets expectation, 90-92% meets expectation, 93-95% highly meets expectation and 96% and above – exceeds expectations. Procedures The first step of the study proper was choosing the participants by purposive sampling. The researcher consulted a team supervisor of a number of call center agents regarding about the surveying of employees. The researcher asked for assistance concerning the requirements of the employees that were tested of their job satisfaction and customer satisfaction, both including the participants’ gender. The job satisfaction survey that was given contained statements in which the respondent disagreed or agreed with the statement choosing a number ranging from 1-5 represented their disagreeing or agreeing with the statements. The next measurement that was taken was their performance metric of customer satisfaction which was obtained by the participants respectively. 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. Statistical Analysis After testing the participants of their job satisfaction score and receiving their metric of customer satisfaction each, the researcher computed using SPSS and Pearson Correlation to determine the relationship or difference of the two variables tested on the
102 call center agents. The conditions of the results which was gathered and computed by the researcher depended on the interpretations and analysis that of the outcome. In correlating the two variables which are job satisfaction and customer satisfaction, the Pearson Correlation was used. Pearson Correlation is a correlation number between -1 and +1 that measures the degree of association between two variables. A positive value for the correlation implies a positive. A negative value for the correlation implies a negative or inverse association.
Results and Discussion The results regarding the relationship between the job satisfaction and customer satisfaction are reported in the tables below. The total number of participants who participated in the study is 200. 96 or 48% of the participants are males and 104 or 52% are females. The ratio of male to female respondents was 48 to 52%. The result of which the female participants appeared more than the male was because of the random sampling of the study. All of them are nightshift call center agents. Gender Male 104 Female 200 Total Table 1: Frequency Distribution of Participants According to Gender 100 52 Frequency 96 Percent 48
VH 107 53.5%
H 66 33%
A 21 10.5%
L 5 2.5%
VL 1 .5%
TOTAL 200 100%
Table 2: Frequency Distribution of Job Satisfaction Scores The table summarizes the results of the job satisfaction of the respondents. Only . 5% was found to have very low job satisfaction. 2.5% appeared to have low job satisfaction. 10.5% was observed to be averaged job satisfied. 33% appeared to be highly satisfied. Lastly, 53.5% appeared to have very high satisfaction. The results have been found to display only one very low job satisfaction scored respondent while majority of the sample group was found to have very high satisfaction. The mean of the job satisfaction scores were 83.15105. The mean signifies the average of the job satisfaction answers of the participants. Results were based on the totals of each survey result of the participants. CSTOTA L TOTAL EE 2 1% HME 20 10% ME 33 16.5% LME 57 28.5% NI 88 44% TOTAL 200 100%
Table 3: Frequency Distribution of Customer Satisfaction Scores The table summarizes the results of the customer satisfaction of the respondents. EE signifies exceeding expectations, HME means high meets expectation, ME means meets expectations, LME signifies low meets expectation while NI means needs improvement for their performance. 44% was found to have needed improvement. 28.5% appeared to have low meet expectations. 16.5% was observed to be meeting expectations. 10% appeared to be highly meeting expectation. Lastly, only 1% appeared to have been exceeding expectations. The results have been found that majority needed more improvement while only 1% had been exceeding expectations. The mean of the customer satisfaction scores were 85.62625. The mean signifies the average of the customer satisfaction answers of the participants.
Pearson Correlation Sig. (2-tailed) N Pearson Correlation Sig. (2-tailed) N
CSTOTAL 1 200 .739(**) .000 200
JSTOTAL2 .739(**) .000 200 1 200
Table 4: Correlation between Job Satisfaction and Customer Satisfaction The results showed that there is significant relationship between Job Satisfaction and Customer Satisfaction at p-value 0.00 < 0.01. With the p-value of 0.00, it depicts that there is a significant level in obtaining the two variable’s values. Pearson’s correlation coefficient value which is .739 lays between ± 0.25 and ± 0.75. Therefore, it is said to have a moderate degree of correlation between the two variables because of the fact that the value lays between ± 0.25 and ± 0.75. This implies that there is a significant and direct relationship between job satisfaction and customer satisfaction. Conclusion Based on the results and data gathered, the researcher therefore concludes that majority of the participants, which was from a specific call center in Pasay and who were working night shifts, were most highly satisfied with their job. Also majority of the respondents, were found to have an analysis of needing improvement with their performance in customer satisfaction measurement. Statistically, there scores for their customer satisfaction measure were high but in analyzing there scores through company standards, it wasn’t enough to say that there customers were satisfied and that there performance was exceeding good expectations. The standards in analyzing the customer satisfaction metric were much high than expected. The boundary between high and low performance was at 90% exactly. The majority of the participants were found to have a very high satisfaction with their job. In the job satisfaction survey the participants answered most in strongly agreeing with the item regarding the recognition with their work. The result of the correlation between job satisfaction and customer satisfaction shows that there is moderate correlation with a Pearson R of .739. Even though it did not show high ratings for the correlation, the test was found to be significant at .01 level. The results show that there is a significant correlation between job satisfaction and customer satisfaction. This conclusion supports previous studies (Mayo, 2002) stating that there is a strong correlation between the two variables.
105 The results resolved the aim of the study that if there was a significant relationship between job satisfaction and customer satisfaction. The feedback to the question is that there is a significant relationship using Significance Test and Pearson R, the results were p-value 0.00 and R = .739 respectively. Recommendations Since the present research has shown that there is a relationship between job satisfaction and customer satisfaction, an individual can understand the importance of job satisfaction in companies. It would also help future or present high-positioned employees handle a number of their employee’s performance by reinforcing their employee’s satisfaction. To maintain productivity, efficiency and most importantly satisfaction would help the company reach great limits of success not just with benefits but with a sense of achievement towards oneself. If organizations focus on increasing the level of job satisfaction of their employees, they could potentially reduce the negative attitudes and increase the levels of performance and customer satisfaction within their company. In so doing, organizations will increase their overall productivity and performance. With these factors at hand leading to job satisfaction the organization can become a high performance call center industry. There are further implications of high job satisfaction levels for the company used in the study. If customer satisfaction is high or moderate then the company will increase customer loyalty therefore maintaining customers. Since all companies customers to keep the company in business, it is worthwhile having loyal customers.
106 References: Buchanan, K. (2007), http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Kadence_Buchanan Chacko,T .l. (1983). Job and life satisfaction: A cause analysis of their relationships. Academy of Management Journal, 26, I 63-I 69. Gruneberg, M. (1979). Understanding job satisfaction. London: Macmillan Press Ltd. Herzberg, F. Mausner, B. Peterson, R. O., & Capwell, D. F. (1957). Job attitudes: A review of research and opinions. Pittsburgh, PA: Psychological Services of Pittsburgh. Locke, E. A. (1976). The nature and causes of job satisfaction. In M. D. Dunnette (Ed.), Handbook of industrial and organizational psychology (pp. 1297-1343). Chicago: Rand McNally. Macdonald, S., & Macintyre, P. (1997). The generic job satisfaction scale and its correlates. Marr, B., & Neely, A. (2004). Managing and measuring for value: The case of call centre performance. McNealy, R.M (1996). Making customer satisfaction happen: A strategy for delighting customers. London: Chapman & Hall. Moshavi, D. & Terborg, J.R. (2002). The job satisfaction and performance of contingent and regular customer service representatives: A human capital perspective. International Journal of Service Industry Management, 13 (4), 333-347. Muchinsky, P. (1993). Psychology applied to work: An introduction to industrial/ organizational psychology. L.A: Brooks/Cole. Naumann, E., & Giel, K. (1995). Customer satisfaction measurement and management. Rose, E., & Wright, G. (2005). Satisfaction and dimensions of control among call centre customer service representatives. The International Journal of Human Resource Management. 16 (1), 136. Spector, P.E. (1997). Job satisfaction: Application, assessment, causes, and consequences. London: Sage Publications.
Job Satisfaction of Call Center Agents in Selected Call Centers
Rafael P. Flameño
This study aims to assess job satisfaction of call center agents using Job Satisfaction Survey (Spector, 1994). The researcher assessed 120 call center agents from selected call centers in Northgate, Alabang. The data were analyzed through tabulation of scores. The mean of 145 and standard deviation of 13 was calculated using Microsoft Excel program. Results from the computation of the mean showed that all participants were satisfied with their work. It is important that call center companies continue to provide the needs of their employees, creating a healthy and safe working environment. Employees also need to adapt to the company’s rules and culture in order to facilitate job satisfaction.
Job satisfaction is defined as to how individuals feel about their job and the different factors that comes with it. Some people hate to work but they still pursue it because they have to. Others enjoy work and make it the main part of their lives. In organizations today, the management is concerned of the psychological and physical well-being of their employees. Providing different strategies to obtain job satisfaction has become a common activity. The worker's sense of achievement and success are generally perceived to be directly linked to productivity as well as to personal wellbeing. Job satisfaction implies doing a job one enjoys, doing it well, and being suitably rewarded for one's efforts. Job satisfaction further implies enthusiasm and happiness with one's work (Fisher & Taylor, 1979). The call center industry is an up-and-coming industry in the Philippines. Business process outsourcing is regarded as one of the fastest growing industries in the world (Berkowitz, 1980). A call center is a centralized office used for the purpose of receiving and transmitting a large volume of requests by telephone. It 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, faxes, and e-mails at one location is known as a contact center. (Berkowitz, 1980) Despite the fact that call centers actually began in the Philippines as plain providers of email response and managing services, these have industrial capabilities for almost all types of customer relations, ranging from travel services, technical support, education, customer care, financial services, and on-line business to customer support, on-line business to business support. (www.wikipedia.org) Call centers have considerably helped raise the Philippine economy. The call center agents in addition to standard employee benefits may also receive attractive compensation packages, monthly, quarterly, and yearly cash incentives, non-taxable food
108 and transportation allowance, night differential pay. A percentage is added to the basic pay of those who work in a graveyard shift, Performance and attendance bonuses, rewards program, and tuition reimbursement plan. (Berkowitz, 1980) After a lengthy amount of time each company begins to develop its own unique corporate culture based on the nature of the business and its employees. Quite often when old management is replaced with new management enforcing new policies and rules, the culture is disturbed and employees get dissatisfied and resign from their positions. During these situations it is important for the management to either retain the culture or develop a whole new different culture. (Meyer and Allen, 2008). This paper aimed to know if the employees in the call center industry are satisfied with the work they do. It is very important in every organization that their employees are happy and enjoying their work. The researcher also focused on the factors that affect employees’ job satisfaction. Theoretical Framework: Nine Facets of Job Satsfaction • • • • • • • • • Pay Promotion Supervision Fringe Benefits Contingent Rewards Operating Conditions Coworkers Nature of work Communication
There are nine facets that asses ones job satisfaction according to Paul E. Spector(1994) and these are the salary or pay, promotion, supervision, fringe benefits, contingent rewards, operating conditions, coworkers, nature of work and communication. In Fredrick Herzberg’s Motivation Hygiene Theory, he stated that individuals are not content with the satisfaction from lower-needs at work like safe and pleasant working conditions and minimums salary levels but employees would also look for higher level psychological needs like recognition, achievement, advancement, responsibility and the nature of work itself (Atkinson, et al. 2000). The researcher used the job satisfaction survey by Paul E. Spector because this covers the assessment, causes, consequences and nature of this important variable.
Review of Literature Job Satisfaction According to Bergevin (2007) there are ten ways to improve an agents’ job satisfaction and these are recruiting people who value the work, clarifying expectations, providing good, job-specific training, telling them how they’re doing, removing roadblocks to success, removing fear, don’t ask them to do anything you wouldn’t want to do, communicating the good and the bad, being straight and honest, asking for feedback and being positive. Job satisfaction or a worker's sense of achievement and success, is generally perceived to be directly linked to productivity as well as to personal wellbeing. Job satisfaction implies doing a job one enjoys, doing it well, and being suitably rewarded for one's efforts. Job satisfaction further implies enthusiasm and happiness with one's work (Deci & Ryan, 1985). According to Herzbergs Two-Factor or Motivation-Hygiene Theory, individuals are not content with the satisfaction of lower- order needs at work like those that are related to minimum salary levels or safe and pleasant working conditions rather individuals look for the gratification of higher level psychological needs like recognition, achievement, advancement, responsibility and nature of work itself (Atkinson, et al. 2000). 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 (Arvey & Segal, 1998). An interesting research has been conducted among employees in American industry in an attempt to answer this question: “What do workers really want from their jobs?” As a result wages, job security, promotion and working conditions are the things workers want most from their jobs (Hersey & Blanchard 1969). Pay The distinction between the amount employees receive and the amount they think others are receiving is the immediate cause of satisfaction or dissatisfaction with pay (Lawler, 1981). The anticipation of pay satisfaction will influence an employee’s decisions how hard to work.
110 The economic man theory of motivation holds that people work only for money (Steers & Porter, 1979). Based on this approach, money is the basic incentive for employee productivity and satisfaction. The average salary for fresh graduates is P12,000 and P15,000 for one to four years experienced employee's (Jobstreet.com, 2009). Promotion Promotions are an important aspect of a worker’s career and life, affecting other facets of the work experience. They constitute an important aspect of workers’ labor mobility, most often carrying substantial wage increases (Kosteas, 2009). Supervision It is reasonable to expect that an employee’s attitudes, beliefs or opinions about the organization will be strongly influenced by his of her perceptions of the messages communicated by the supervisor’s behavior making satisfaction with supervision an intermediary for satisfaction with the organization (Graen, et al. 1972). In Herzberg's Two-Factor theory, he identified the quality of supervision as a hygiene factor. This means that when the quality of supervision is poor, a worker can become dissatisfied (Atkinson, et al. 2000). Fringe benefits Many authorities argue that all organizations should have benefits and services, but there is little concrete evidence that they affect employee satisfaction (Ivancevich, 1995). Fringe benefit is a form of non-wage compensation provided by a worker’s firm. Examples include medical and disability insurance, pension programs, life insurance and similar benefits (Mitchell, 1982). These fringe benefits are factors that would help improve the job satisfaction of employees. Contingent rewards In organizations monetary bonuses are likely to be perceived as informational, unlike the piece-rate payments that tend to be perceived as controlling (Berkowitz, 1980). Employees tend to put on extra effort when they know that they would be rewarded for it.
Rewards should be given to employees when they earn them. In the theory of B.F Skinner, he had no success teaching lab rats to run mazes by stuffing them with cheese beforehand. A fundamental principle of motivation is to use rewards to reinforce desired behaviors if they occur (Atkinson, et al. 2000). Operating conditions An organizational culture and management style can increase or decrease job satisfaction. Many organizations have a classical, bureaucratic, or authoritarian culture. Although job satisfaction is higher in non-bureaucratic organizations, much depends on the individual. Poor working condition results to high turnover rates (www.canada.com). This has caused unsatisfied employees to quit their work. According to the Brazilian Code of Occupations, “working under pressure is common when the number of those waiting to be put through increases”, because the characteristics of telemarketing are the necessary and constant use of the telephone, a variety of types of work, the need to relate to the users and work organization based on “planned and controlled routines and scripts, aimed at capturing, retaining or recovering customers”. It also emphasizes that different “personal competences” are required, such as vocal quality, self-control, the capability of working under pressure, agility and others. (Berkowitz, 1980). These statements suggest that operating condition is crucial to ones job satisfaction, being comfortable working with the given task would make an employee stay longer in an organization. Coworkers Social activity is pivotal to an individual’s mental, physical and spiritual health, with research indicating that individuals who regularly engage in social activity do experience greater positive well-being (Myers, et al. 2000). The influence of coworkers affects one's job satisfaction, people look at total rewards from work and when they feel that they are getting less out of the effort they put in than their coworker they would feel dissatisfied(Drafke, 2006). Nature of work The prime factor in job satisfaction is the work itself. Sometimes people claim to hate their work when in fact they just hate doing the job for their current employer. To
112 avoid unnecessary career changes, it is important to distinguish between disliking the work and disliking the employer (Drafke, 2006). Possible disadvantages regarding of the nature of work are easily overlooked. Several studies have shown that job simplification by division of labor comes along with routine work, low task complexity and consequential low utilization of qualification such as knowledge, skills and abilities (Grebner, 2003). An investigation by the Institute of Manpower Studies revealed that one of the major reasons people quit their job is because of boredom. Employees lack of autonomy and control over the sequence of tasks, lack of variety and challenge of the job and employees' skills were not being fully used are factors that led to the feeling that jobs were boring (Drafke, 2006). Communication Effective communication at work places contributes significantly towards the performance of employees. It gives rise to enhance job satisfaction, a good feeling of personal accomplishment and increased productivity (Javed, et al. 2004). Job satisfaction may increase as the quantity of social interaction increases on the other hand if the social interactions are not as desired, job satisfaction can decrease. The quantity of social interactions is affected by physical ad mental isolation. Physical isolation means that the work site is so remote that few other workers are in the area or that the workers in the area are isolated by the working conditions (Drafke, 2006). Synthesis Based on the studies researched and gathered assessing ones’ job satisfaction relies on nine facets and these are the satisfaction they get from their pay and pay raises, promotion opportunities, immediate supervisor, fringe benefits, contingent rewards given for good performance, operating conditions, coworkers, the type of work done which is the nature of the job and the communication within the organization. These nine facets can be motivators or de-motivators to an employee’s job satisfaction. Research Design Participants There were 120 participants in this study. The respondents were call center agents aging from 18 to 30 years old. This age range was selected because most of the call center agents were in this age bracket. All participants were recruited from such area in
113 and around a major call center industry, namely HSBC, Genpact and Convergy’s. The participants were given informed consent, detailed description of the nature of the research study, debriefing, and confidentiality. Materials/Instruments The Job Satisfaction Survey, JSS is a 36 item, nine facet scale to assess employee attitudes about the job and aspects of the job. Each facet was assessed with four items, and a total score is computed from all items. A summated rating scale format is used, with six choices per item ranging from "strongly disagree" to "strongly agree". Items are written in both directions, so about half must be reversely scored. The nine facets are Pay, Promotion, Supervision, Fringe Benefits, Contingent Rewards (performance based rewards), Operating Conditions (required rules and procedures), Coworkers, Nature of Work, and Communication. Although the JSS was originally developed for use in human service organizations, it is applicable to all organizations (Spector, 1994). Test- retest reliability reflects the scale over time (Spector, 1994). Procedure A quantitative research design was used. The researcher used a 36-item survey questionnaire on job satisfaction by Paul E. Spector (1994). The participant’s demographics were also asked. The researcher recruited the participants for this study through contacts from the selected call center companies and then provided consent forms to the 120 participants before they answered the questionnaires. Answers were tabulated and data results were gathered. The scores were divided into three categories whereas scores of 36-108 were dissatisfied, 109-144 were ambivalent and 145- 216 were satisfied. The researcher also divided the individual facet scores into three categories. Scores of 4 to 12 are dissatisfied, 16 to 24 are satisfied and between 12 and 16 are ambivalent. Statistical Analysis Scores were tallied in order for the researcher to classify the respondents accordingly. The computation of the mean and the standard deviation using Microsoft Excel program were used for this research.
114 Results: On table 1.1 the scores were divided into three categories whereas scores of 36108 were dissatisfied, 109-144 were ambivalent and 145- 216 were satisfied. The result of the Job Satisfaction Survey on table 1.1 shows that 73 or 60.83% of the respondents were satisfied with their work as a call center agent. 39.17% were ambivalent. None of the respondents scored lower than 109 on the survey. The mean average of the scores was 145 and a standard deviation of 13 meaning the participants were satisfied working as a call center agent. Table 1.1 Job Satisfaction Survey Raw Scores 145-216 109-144 Mean= 145 SD= 13 N=120 On table 1.2 the researcher divided the nine facets of job satisfaction from the job satisfaction survey to find out whether the respondents were satisfied, dissatisfied or ambivalent on each facet. The individual facet scores can range from 4 to 24. Scores of 4 to 12 are dissatisfied, 16 to 24 are satisfied and between 12 and 16 are ambivalent. To get the scores of the respondents, the total scores were summed up for each facet and then divided the sum by the total population. Table 1.2 shows that the respondents were satisfied with the pay, supervision, contingent rewards, nature of work and communication while satisfaction in promotion, fringe benefits, operating conditions and co-workers were ambivalent. Descriptive Equivalent Satisfied Ambivalent Frequency 73 47 Percentage (%) 60.83% 39.17%
115 Table 1.2 Total scores of the respondents for 9 individual facets of job satisfaction Facets Pay Promotion Supervision Fringe Benefits Contingent Rewards Operating Conditions Coworkers Nature of Work Communication Total Scores of Respondents 16.18 15.61 17.74 15.11 17.36 14.03 15.51 17.64 16.70
Discussion of the data Using the JSS or Job Satisfaction Survey (Spector, 1994) the researcher learned that call center agents were satisfied. Based on the tabulation of scores in table 1.1, 60.83% of the respondents fell into the “satisfied” category while 39.17% were under “ambivalent”. None of the participants were dissatisfied. Job satisfaction is a worker's sense of achievement and success is generally perceived to be directly linked to productivity as well as to personal wellbeing. This implies doing a job one enjoys, doing it well, and being suitably rewarded for one's efforts. Job satisfaction further implies enthusiasm and happiness with one's work (www.answers.com). Meaning, that the high scores gathered by the researcher also tell that call center agents enjoy doing their job at the same time being rewarded for work that they do. On table 1.2, the researcher used the nine facets of JSS individually in determining the job satisfaction of call center agents. The results show that the participants were satisfied with their pay, contingent rewards, supervision, nature of work and communication while their satisfaction with promotion, fringe benefits, operating conditions and coworkers were ambivalent. None of the participants were dissatisfied. The participants were satisfied with their pay having a score of 16.18. Based on the economic man theory, money is the main reason why people work (Steers & Porter, 1979). This score depicts that money is a big factor in one’s job satisfaction. More people nowadays choose to work in call centers for its pay. The average salary for fresh graduates is P12,000 and P15,000 for one to four years experienced employee's
116 (Jobstreet.com 2009). The awareness of the high pay call center agents receive has caused their satisfaction in this facet. In promotion respondents scored 15.61 which falls in the ambivalent category. Promotion is an important aspect of an employee’s career and life. According to Kosteas (2009), promotion constitutes an important aspect of workers’ labor mobility meaning employees would perform better if they were aware that they have a chance for promotion. The score of 17.74 in supervision depicts satisfaction in this facet. According to Herzberg, poor supervision can make an individual dissatisfied. This result shows that call center agents were provided with good quality of supervision by the higher ranks. Satisfaction in supervision also tells that supervisors have influenced employees’ attitudes, beliefs and opinions about the organization (Graen, et al. 1972). The score of 15.11 for fringe benefits depicts the participants' ambivalence in this facet. The common fringe benefits given by the companies that participated for this research like health insurance, sick leave, tax income return and 13th month pay have contributed positively for the wellbeing of their employees (www.JobsDB.com 2009). The participants scored 17.36 on contingent rewards which show satisfaction. Call center agents may also receive performance and attendance bonuses, non-taxable food and transportation allowance and monthly, quarterly and yearly incentives (www.JobsDB.com 2009). Employees tend to put extra effort when they know they would be rewarded for it. The score for operating conditions was 14.03. In call centers personal competences are required, such as vocal quality, self-control and capability of working under pressure (Berkowitz, 1980). Planned and controlled routine scripts are applied in call centers where in some cases wherein personal decision making is not valued. Different rules and cultures apply in every company and job satisfaction would depend much on the individuals preference (Drafke, 2006). The score for co-workers was 15.51. This mark shows that call center agents have a negative or positive feeling on this facet. The influence of coworkers affects one's job satisfaction, people look at total rewards from work and when they feel that they are getting less out of the effort they put in than their coworker they would feel dissatisfied(Drafke, 2006). Being satisfied with fellow employees is important to an individual’s mental, physical and spiritual health which leads to ones positive well being (Myers,Sweeney & Witmer, 2000). The score of 17.67 on the nature of work tells that the participants were satisfied with this facet. According to Drafke (2006), the prime factor in job satisfaction is the work itself. The score showed that the employee's were happy with the tasks given to the employees making them comfortable and happy with their job.
117 In communication, the participants scored 16.70. This indicates that employees were satisfied with their communication at the work place. Having a quantity of social interaction (Drafke, 2006) leading to effective communication contributed significantly towards the performance and gave rise to enhance job satisfaction of employees (Javed, et al. 2004). Conclusion In order to find out ones' job satisfaction, measuring every facet is important for it would particularly show what makes an employee satisfied or dissatisfied. The call center agents' satisfaction with pay, supervision, contingent rewards, nature of work and communication were the key factors for having job satisfaction. Although satisfaction with promotion, fringe benefits,operating conditions and coworkers were described as ambivalent, the scores were very close to the “satisfied” range, with 14.03 on operating conditions as the lowest. Overall, 60.83% of participants were described as “satisfied” and none of the participants were dissatisfied. The researcher concludes call that the participants are satisfied working as a call center agent. The researcher agrees on the Two-Factor theory of Herzberg which states that individuals seek not only the lower order needs but also the higher level psychological needs to become satisfied at work. This paper shows the importance of knowing how employees feel toward their job reflects on the company’s effectiveness on satisfying the needs of their employees. Bad job satisfaction would make an employee resign and work for another company while having a good satisfaction would make an employee stay and help the organization progress. Recommendations After reviewing the data gathered for this research, the researcher would like to recommend that call center companies need to be consistent in satisfying the needs of their employees like rewards, benefits, good working condition, good supervision and an effective communication. Providing more activities like leadership training, seminars, company outings as well as recognizing the work done by the employee's and giving them positive and negative feedback that would further enhance an individuals wellbeing and work ethics. This would also help both the company and employees to progress. The employees should learn to adapt to the workplace and having a good relationship with coworkers because this would lead them to job satisfaction.
118 References: Atkinson R., Smith E. (2000) Hilgard’s Introduction to Psychology 13th Edition, Wadsworth Group, a division of Thomson Learning inc (Harcourt, Inc 2000) http://academic.csuohio.edu/kosteas_b/Job%20Satisfaction%20and %20Promotions.pdf Berkowitz L. (1980), Advances in Experimental Social Psychology, Academic Press Inc: New York, New York 1980 http://www.callcenterphilippines.net/ Drafke M., (2006) The Human Side of Organizations 9th Edition, Pearson Prentice Hall, NJ 07458 Fisher C. & Taylor M. (1979) Journal of Applied Psychology Frese, Michael & Fay, Doris (2001) University of Giessen and University of Amsterdam, http://www.gerardkeegan.co.uk/glossary/gloss_s.htm#selfactualisation Grebner, Simone (2003), European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology Graen, G., Dansereau F., Minami T. (1972) Dysfunctional Leadership styles. Organizational Behavior and Human Performance Hersey, Paul & Blanchard, Kenneth (1969) Management of Organizational Behavior (New Jersey: Prentice Hall, Inc.) Ivancevich, John (1995), Human Resource Management Chicago: Irwin Inc. 1995 Steers, Richard & Porter, Lyman (1979), Motivation and Work Behavior New York: McGrawhill 1979 Javed, Talha; Maqsood,Mansil & Durrani, Qaiser (2004) A Survey to Examine the Effect of Team Communication on Job satisfaction in Software Industry, ACM SIGSOFT software engineering notes 2004 http://www.jobsdb.com.ph/PH/EN/V6HTML/Home/PH_Jobs/CallCenter/ , Philippine Call Center Jobs, (2009) Kosteas V. (2009), Job Satisfaction and Promotions, Cleveland State University Publication 2009 Lawler E. (1981), Pay and Development, Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley Inc 1981 Meyer, John P, Allen, Natalie J, N.D (2008) Commitment in the Workplace: Theory, Research and Application, Sage Publications 2008
119 Mitchell O. (1982) Fringe Benefits and Labor Mobility The Journal of Human Resources, Vol. 17 (Spring, 1982) pp.286- 298 University of Wisconsin Press Myers, J., Sweeney, T., & Witmer, M. (2000). The wheel of wellness counseling for wellness: A holistic model for treatment planning. Journal of Counseling and Development Réal Bergevin (2007) Call Center for Dummies, For Dummies, Inc 2007 Spector P. (1994) Job Satisfaction: Application, Assessment, Causes and Consequences, California: Sage Publications 1994 Villegas B. (1995), Productivity: path to global competitiveness, Southeast Asian Science Foundation Inc. 1995
Electronic Devices: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/call_center_industry_in_the_philippines http://www.wright.edu/~scott.williams/LeaderLetter/motivating.htm
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