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Review of International Political Economy

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Globalization, governmentality and expertise: creating a call centre labour force


Wendy Larnera a University of Auckland,

To cite this Article Larner, Wendy(2002) 'Globalization, governmentality and expertise: creating a call centre labour force',

Review of International Political Economy, 9: 4, 650 674 To link to this Article: DOI: 10.1080/0969229022000021844 URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/0969229022000021844

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Review of h~ternatiol~d Political ECOMOI?ZYNoveinber 2002: 650-674 9:4

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Globalization, governmentality and expertise: creating a call centre labour force


W e n d y Lamer
University o Auckland f
ABSTRACT
Through a case study of the New Zealand Call Centre Attraction Initiative this paper draws attention to the forms of expertise and knowledge practices through which low wage labour forces are being constituted in the name of 'globalization'. Drawing on the neo-Foucauldian literature on 'governmentality', it identifies the significance of 'post-welfarist' expertise, including human resources companies, training providers, industry associations and information providers, and shows these private sector actors are beginning to usurp the role historically played by state agencies. Close attention is paid to how this expertise is assembled around a particular strategy - the establishment of a toll free number to recruit call centre workers - intended to mobilize mothers, migrants and students, all of whom have been historically marginalized from core labour force participation.

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KEYWORDS
Globalization; governmentality; expertise; call centres; labour

INTRODUCTION
This paper examines the labour force implications of a recent government-promoted attempt to establish New Zealand as an international call centre location serving Asia-Pacific markets. The call centre strategy exemplifies a distinct move away from the economic and social policies of the post-war period. During the earlier period governmental ambitions were usually premised on the building of a national economy through the exploitation of natural resources and/or development of a domestic manufacturing sector, thereby ensuring minimum wages and maintaining full employment for men. In contrast, development strategies based on call centres aspire to link locally based service sector activities into global flows and networks, and foster low wage and feminised
Review of Itztevnational Political Econonzy ISSN 0969-2290 print/ISSN 1466-4526 online O 2002 Taylor & Francis Ltd http:/ /www.tandf.co.uk DOI: 10.1080/0969229022000021844

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forms of employment. In this regard it can be argued call centres are a 'strategic instantiation' of the gendering of globalization (Sassen, 1996). They are the contemporary equivalent of earlier transformations such as women's incorporation into agricultural production, and into manufacturing jobs in export processing zones. Most immediately, therefore, the paper makes a contribution to literatures examining the gendered consequences of globalized economic activities premised on information and communications technologies (see also Mitter and Rowbotham, 1995). Too often, however, analyses of globalization have overlooked the contingent processes through which new political-economic forms are constituted, and the diverse means by which people and places become incorporated into the flows and networks of the global economy. Rather, the focus has been on the effects of globalization with, for example, feminist studies highlighting the differential consequences of global restructuring for men and women. More recently, influenced by poststructuralist accounts of discourse and subjectivity, feminists have begun to rethink the process of globalization itself (see, for examples, Marchand and Runyan, 2000; Peterson, 1996). Gibson-Graham (1996) and Kingfisher (forthcoming), among others, highlight the gendered nature of the globalization discourse, and show how this discourse privileges certain understandings of spaces, economies and subjects over others. These efforts resonate with a broader shift in the social science literature on globalization in which it is emphasized that, rather than being a 'new reality', the 'globalisation paradigm' is actively produced and disseminated by business people, state actors, management theorists and others (Leyshon, 1997; McMichael, 1996; Tickell, 2000). This paper builds on themes from these contemporary feminist and post-structuralist accounts of globalization. However, whereas other such contributions tend to focus on discourse, the emphasis herein is on the forms of expertise and practices through which new political-economic objects and subjects are constituted. Drawing from the governmentality literature, the analysis pays close attention to rationales and strategies through which a global call centre labour force is being imagined and constituted in New Zealand. It identifies the significance of 'postwelfarist'l expertise, including human resources companies, training providers, industry associations and information providers, and shows these actors are beginning to usurp the role historically played by state agencies. Close attention is paid to the strategies used by the private sector organizations to mobilize mothers, migrants and students - all of whom have been historically marginalized from core labour force participation. In this way the paper draws attention to the forms of expertise and knowledge practices through which feminised labour forces are constituted in the name of 'globalization'.

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The analysis is developed as follows. Following a brief overview of relevant literatures on globalization, governance and expertise, the paper introduces and contextualizes the New Zealand Call Centre Attraction Initiative (CCAI). It discusses how a specific governmental problematization - namely a potential shortage of call centre workers - has emerged as a consequence of the initiative. The next section identifies the array of actors and organizations that have come together around this problematization. The discussion then focuses on a specific strategy - the establishment of a toll free number designed to recruit call centre workers - in order to illustrate how these post-welfarist experts are inventing novel ways to enrol subjects in their ambitions. In the conclusion it is emphasized that the case study expands the analytical focus of research on globalization by enhancing knowledge of how globalizing processes come to be embedded in national space, and showing that feminised labour forces are actively created through the efforts of multiple actors and agencies. It also makes a distinctive contribution to the governmentality literature by extending the discussion of expertise from the forms associated with the welfare state to those associated with a largely private sector arena. GLOBALIZATION, GOVERNMENTALITY A N D EXPERTISE It is now widely appreciated that claims about economic globalization are often over-stated (Boyer and Drache, 1996; Hirst and Thompson, 1996; Sassen, 1996a). There is much greater understanding of the multi-dimensional processes encompassed by the term 'globalization' (Appadurai 1996). A vast array of case study analyses have also begun to highlight the uneven and contradictory ways in which different regions, institutions, organizations, industries and social groups are incorporated into global political-economic processes (for diverse examples see Cox, 1997; Germain, 2000; Marchand and Runyan, 2000). Thus one consequence of the debates between 'strong globalists' and 'global sceptics' has been to shift attention away from the question of whether or not globalization is a 'true' reflection of the 'real world', to that of how this explanatory framework comes to have the power it does. As Jessop (1999) points out, we need to understand the 'meta-narratives' that constitute political-economic space as global. Whereas others have stressed the discursive aspects of globalization (Gibson-Graham, 1996; Larner, 1998; Leyshon, 1997; Herod et nl., 1998)' the analysis herein is more concerned with the forms of expertise and techniques through which economic objects and subjects are being constituted in new forms (Dean, 1999; Miller and Rose, 1990; Rose, 1999).The neo-Foucauldian literature known as 'governmentality' informs a claim

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that governance has a practical dimension downplayed in many existing accounts of globalization. To understand changing governmental formations it is necessary to analyse not only political reasoning, as made manifest in reports, speeches and policy documents, but also the more pragmatic constitution of organizations, institutions and programmes and the techniques on which these depend. As Rose and Miller (1992: 175) explain: Government is intrinsically linked to the activities of expertise, whose role is not that of weaving an all-pervasive web of 'social control', but of enacting assorted attempts at the calculated administration of diverse aspects of conduct through countless, often competing, local tactics of education, persuasion, inducement, management, incitement, motivation and encouragement. Most existing discussions of governmental expertise focus on the experts of the welfare state. Dean (1999: 127-30) describes how this state form arose out of particular formulations of social 'problems', based on the disciplinary knowledges of public health, welfare economics, sociology, social administration, social work and social policy, which provided the 'intellectual machinery' for understanding the social in particular forms. In turn, the knowledge produced by these disciplinary experts became closely linked with the activities of professionals and bureaucrats located in government departments, giving rise to particular institutional spaces such as schools, courts and hospitals. As Dean (1999: 133) explains, in this way a particular reading of the social came to be inscribed within a centralized and co-ordinating state. This analytical approach has given rise to a rich body of literature encompassing topics such as education (Hunter, 1994), crime (Garland, 1997; O'Malley, 1999), unemployment (Dean, 1995; Walters, 2000)' poverty (Procacci, 1991), psychiatry (Rose 1996) and social welfare (Cruikshank, 1999), among others. This literature has also drawn attention to contemporary reconfigurations of rule. At one level, it is reasonably well-understood that contemporary changes in state forms and governing practices, frequently captured under the label 'neo-liberalism', have been associated with a shift in the dominant forms of governmental expertise. Marketization has involved a new valorization of financial, administrative and technical experts, often caricatured in assertions about the rise of 'bean counters'. The growing power of Treasury and Finance departments has been observed by public policy analysts, as has the rising importance of audit (Power, 1997) and the new significance of contractualism (Yeatman, 1995). It is also recognized that the experts of the welfare state, such as social scientists, professionals and state bureaucrats, are increasingly governed by the rationales of competition, accountability and consumer demand (Rose, 1993: 285). Many of these social experts have been trans-

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formed into 'calculating selves', with a corresponding decline in public service aspects of government. Governmentality scholars link these trends to a broader transformation of expertise associated with 'advanced liberalism' (Dean, 1999; Rose, 1999). It is argued that this transformation involves the re-imagination of the social as a form of economic (Gordon, 1991: 42-5). Building on these claims, this paper draws attention to new forms of expertise in the realm of what was once called 'labour' (as in the Department of Labour) and is now known as 'human resource^'.^ The shift in terminology is not simply rhetorical. Rather, government agencies have begun to form new relationships with private sector organizations, in the guise of human resources companies, training providers, management consultants and others. These relationships mark an important shift in the nature of governance. While there have long been 'partnerships' between state and non-state actors, there has been a tendency for state actors to be seen as the 'first amongst equals' (Jessop 1999a: 17). Under advanced liberalism these relationships are being re-ordered as the role of nonstate actors increases in significance. This is not simply a quantitative change - an argument that the 'rolling back' of the state resulting in the new prominence of market actors. Nor is the involvement of non-state experts, in itself, 'post-welfarist'. Employers have long used temporary help agencies to recruit and place workers, and close cooperation between state agencies and private sector interests in labour market management - particularly in relation to occupational training - is not new. Rather, it is the blurring of the social and economic that is of significance. On one hand, 'social' organizations now have to emulate the characteristics, norms and behaviours of the market. On the other hand, 'economic' organizations have begun to take on tasks once understood as public sector responsibilities. As Rose (1993: 296) stresses more generally, 'It is these new ways, these new relations amongst persons and authorities in the governmental machines of advanced liberalism that we need to understand'. The themes developed in these literatures also raise new questions about relationships between globalization and governance. Whereas geographers and others have stressed there is considerable variability in the processes by which people and places get globalized (Amin and Thrift, 1994; Herod et al., 1998), to date little attention has been paid to the forms of expertise and apparently mundane techniques that constitute global objects and subjects. As McLeod (2000: 220) recently observed, political-economic research continues to shy away from empirical exploration of the dynamic processes through which economic, social and political forms are constituted. The analysis presented herein is premised on the understanding that it is through experimentation, trial and error that new institutional forms and governing practices are invented.

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Correspondingly, the globalizing of economies, and the labour forces that emerge, are likely to involve multiple actors, novel techniques, and more idiosyncratic processes than is often recognized. The remainder of the paper examines these claims in detail through a case study analysis of the New Zealand Call Centre Attraction Initiative. It identifies the 'post-welfarist' configuration of expertise that has come together around the perceived problem of labour shortages in New Zealand call centres. In choosing to work the theoretical arguments through a specific case study, a particular kind of methodological approach is being adopted. As Rose (1999: 55) explains, 'Studies of governmentality practice a certain kind of empiricism (which) argue for the importance of a kind of experimental moment in thought, a moment when thought tries to realize itself in the real'. Adopting this kind of empiricism requires analysis of arguments, strategies and tactics in their own terms. This is not simply description, but nor does such an approach pre-suppose hidden motives, class interests or conspiratorial forces. The aim is to be 'diagnostic' - to establish the singularity of particular strategies, and to reconstruct the problematizations to which policies, programmes and techniques are presented as solutions (Rose and Valverde, 1998). Furthermore, the methodology of the project reflects the new assemblages of expertise that are the object of enquiry. If scholars of advanced liberalism are to follow their analytical object, the emergence of hybridised 'social' domains will require new methodological strategies. In this particular case, examining the making of a call centre labour force required considerable involvement with private sector actors. In addition to primary data generated from more traditional social science sources (policy documents, newspaper articles, industry reports, key informant interviews), the author has been attending CCAI meetings as a non-participant observer since mid-1999. These meetings provided valuable insights into the ways in which key government and industry actors understand their activities and their relationships with each other, and inform many of the observations made in this paper. Description and analysis of the toll free number was facilitated by an agreement with Adecco - the human resources company involved - who provided generous information about their strategy and access to their (privatized) database on the grounds that the research would generate wider attention for their activities. Rigour has been assured by cross-referencing and triangulation of data sources whenever possible. The broader point is that 'post-welfarist' research projects may well require 'post-welfarist' methodologies.

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THE NEW ZEALAND CALL CENTRE ATTRACTION INITIATIVE


Many discussions of economic globalization focus on paradigmatic sites such as 'global cities' and position trans-national corporations, financial markets and high skill 'global nomads' as emblematic subjects (Sassen, 2000: 216). However, globalizing processes can be identified in locations other than major business and financial centres, and involve subjects other than high wage, high skill workers. In this regard, it is useful to recall long-standing literatures on the restructuring of agriculture and manufacturing - particularly the analyses of a 'global assembly line' that show how poor women in relatively marginalized places come to be incorporated into global production processes (see, for example, Ward, 1990). The establishment of trans-national call centres as a means of providing low cost business, financial and personal services is another 'low end' example of globalization. Call centres exemplify the new ways in which firms are taking advantage of opportunities offered by information and communications technologies to relocate service sector activities internationally. Other high profile cases include off-shore data processing and software development (Huws et al., 1999), as well as the more established examples of back offices and teleworking (Mitter and Rowbotham, 1995). These phenomenon are underpinned by technological advances that allow the physical relocation of jobs and organizational restructuring that has resulted in a new emphasis on the out-sourcing of 'non-core' activities. Many firms now look for inexpensive service sector workers across a variety of geographical locations, giving rise to a new international division of labour in which workers in low wage regions service the activities of firms in industrialized countries (Wacjman, 1991). Not surprisingly, given the activities involved, women are numerically dominant in the sectors and occupations most dramatically effected by these changes. Existing studies of call centre employment, for example, consistently show that 60-70 percent of workers are women, although there is some variability across the sector (see, amongst others, Belt et al., 1999; Frenkel et al., 1999; Taylor and Bain; 1999). New Zealand is only one of many places where national and local governments are devoting considerable energy to attracting foreign investment into call centres in the hope they will provide new opportunities in previously marginal areas.The New Zealand Call Centre Attraction Initiative (CCAI) was launched in mid-1999, and is explicitly located in broader governmental ambitions to transform New Zealand in to a 'knowledge based economy'. As Walters (forthcoming) points out, the notion of a knowledge economy is interesting because it occupies an ambiguous position between existing fact and emergent reality.

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This is also the case with the CCAI. Trade New Zealand, the government agency responsible for export development and the growth of international business, launched the CCAI in order to internationalize call centre activity. Their vision is that European and US multi-nationals will locate 'follow-the-sun' call centres in New Zealand to serve AsiaPacific markets; to 'convert freezing works into call centres as meal tickets in the new knowledge based economy' (National Business Xeviezu, 18 June 1999). It is estimated there are already some 300 call centres employing approximately 15,000 agents in New Zealand.%igh profile examples include the call centres of major government departments, telecommunications providers, banks and insurance companies. As yet, however, this activity remains localized in that the majority of these call centres serve national or regional customers. A recent industry study suggests that only 12 percent of New Zealand call centres serve more than one country, usually Australia and, to a lesser extent, the Pacific Islands (ACA, 2001).5 In the effort to internationalize call centre activity, New Zealand's location in a complementary time zone to North America and Europe is identified as a key selling point, and the slogan 'your day our night' features prominently in marketing material. The US is seen as the most likely source for potential investment in global call centres, and has been the focus of efforts to generate 'leads'. The UK and Australia are other target markets. Likely industries have also been identified: the financial sector (banks, stockbrokers, financial analysts), information technology and tourism. Whereas elsewhere call centre initiatives have depended on governments playing a direct role in recruiting overseas investment by offering tax breaks and subsidies to potential investors, in New Zealand international call centre operators are to be lured by the 'economic fundamentals', including advanced telecommunications infrastructure, low labour costs and the deregulated industrial relations environment (Trade NZ, 1999). Two years after its inception, the CCAI has not proved as successful as initially anticipated. While the participants stress that economic development can be a long process and argue the CCAI has been a success because it has raised the profile of call centres more generally, critics claim New Zealand was too slow to recognize the potential of call centres as a development strategy. It has also been argued that a more focused marketing strategy is required (for examples of both arguments see Infotech Weekly, 26 June 2000). Certainly, while potential investors have shown considerable interest in New Zealand as a prospective Asia-Pacific call centre location, translating that interest into actual ventures has proved difficult. Early on it became apparent that CCAI members had under-estimated the importance of Asian language skills. The New Zealand initiative also faced stiff regional competition from Australia,

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which was better known among potential investors, and from lower wage Asia-Pacific destinations such as the Philippines and India (see The Economist, 28 April 2001). The lack of direct incentives also proved a considerable obstacle to turning 'leads' into 'investments'. Consequently, to date, only four companies have located their international call centre activities in New Zealand as a result of the initiative. Three of these are in major cities, and the fourth (which employs only ten people) is in a small provincial centre. That said, participants in the CCAI remain optimistic, and have recently developed a new organizational structure and revised their relationship with Trade NZ to better support their marketing activities. Moreover, the intent of this paper is not to assess the likely long-term success or failure of the CCAI, nor is it provide a quantitative account of the changing demography of call centre employment in New Zealand. Rather, it is to show how the CCAI gave rise to a particular problem a perceived shortage of people to fill international call centre jobs - and to examine the forms of expertise and techniques that came together in the effort to solve this problem. Of course, in addition to being a response to the labour force needs of international investors, the strategies discussed have also bolstered the profile of domestic call centres. Indeed, one of the ongoing tensions in the New Zealand initiative has been the failure of the participants to distinguish between the differing demands of domestic and international call centres (Larner, 2002: 23). However it is important to note that those involved in the strategies discussed below continue to rationalize their activities in terms of 'globalization' and the perceived need to attract international investors. Concern about the size of the potential call centre labour force in New Zealand surfaced at an early stage. Even at the time the CCAI was launched, one commentator suggested New Zealand might have already exhausted the supply of trainable and interested people. Moreover the success, or otherwise, of the CCAI is highly dependent on the provision of a suitable labour force for prospective international investors. Most immediately, this is because labour costs account for approximately twothirds of the costs of running a call centre no matter where they are located. More specifically, however, in the absence of the incentives and tax breaks offered to call centre investors elsewhere, low labour costs (particularly given the current exchange rate) were a key variable in ensuring the success of the initiative. Indeed, there were union complaints about the initial framing of the CCAI in that it presented low wages as the crucial point of difference from potential competitors in Australia and elsewhere. While there has been a deliberate distancing from this earlier version, reflected in a greater emphasis on education and skills, low wages and the weakness of unions in New Zealand continue to be explicitly identified as advantages for international investors.

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The difficulties associated with constructing an international call centre labour force in New Zealand should not be under-estimated. Already there are reports of recruitment difficulties, particularly in those cities where call centres are well established. It is also well understood that call centres are relatively difficult places to work, particularly those performing low-end sales/reservations functions. Not only is much of the work highly routine, there are also limited career paths. Staff turnover (so-called 'churn rates') tends to be high, particularly in those cases where call centres have been staffed with people recruited from elsewhere in the ~rganization.~ Moreover, as demand for experienced call centre workers has increased, people have been able to transfer from one call centre to another with relative ease. Even prior to the CCAI launch, an international benchmarking survey identified New Zealand as having specific problems keeping front line customer service representatives for more then 12 months (TARP, 1997). In this context CCAI participants have tried to identify new sources of call centre workers and invent new strategies for recruitment and placement. Of course, one key reason for 'growing' the potential labour pool is to keep wages low.7 More importantly, it is recognized that the success of the CCAI will depend on providing international investors with a ready supply of willing workers with the appropriate skills and 'right attitude' willing to fill the lower level positions associated with the 'knowledge based economy'. In this regard, it becomes apparent that the 'problem' of the call centre labour force is being framed in a specific way. The problem is not low wages, unfulfilling jobs or poor work place conditions. Rather the problem is that of creating a labour force willing to accept jobs with these characteristics. In turn, this has encouraged those involved with the CCAI to consider social groups historically marginalized from core labour force participation in New Zealand. Thus, rather than taking for granted the 'fact' that globalization involves the exploitation of low wage workers, close attention to the actors involved in the CCAI, their strategies, and the consequences provides valuable insights into the way globalised labour forces come to be imagined and created in particular forms.

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'POST-WELFARIST' EXPERTISE
In both academic and popular discussions it is often assumed that state agencies (notably government departments and public educational institutions), employers and, to a lesser extent, trade unions, are responsible for the constitution of the labour force. In this case, however, efforts to solve the problem of labour shortages have involved more diverse forms of social expertise coalescing around labour force issues. These experts include state agencies, private sector organizations and industry

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associations who are devising ways of allocating tasks among themselves. It should be stressed that this is not an argument about newness per se. As mentioned earlier, private sector actors have long been involved in labour markets, particularly in the fields of training and recruitment. Rather it is to suggest these actors, both state and non-state, are reinventing their relationships with each other. As an integral part of the effort to market New Zealand call centres globally, they have begun to solicit new labour force groups, and are actively involved in the building of a new industrial training regime.* The next point is that post-welfarist experts are not simply mobilizing an already existing labour force and equipping them with the skills required for call centre work. Rather it is a much more creative process involving the identification of previously 'unthought of' populations and inventing ways to encourage them to consider call centres an employment option. Moreover, while there is evidence of disciplinary forms of governance, most notably in the activities of Work and Income New Zealand - the government department in charge of providing income support for beneficiaries - in the large part these initiatives are premised on the notion of active subjects, who will need to be encouraged to choose call centres as a means of entering the labour force. The presence of the post-welfarist experts, therefore, is not simply a matter of utilizing private sector agencies in order to achieve existing political and social objectives. Rather, it is an example of the reconfiguration of social government into an 'advanced liberal' form. Moreover, the centrality of training to the activities of the 'postwelfarist' experts is no coincidence. Training has become a major technology of reattachment to the labour force, in a context where participation in paid work for both men and women has become the primary form of social inclusion (Walters, 1997). It is also a means by which the relationships between individual workers, enterprises and economic wellbeing are being re-cast in the name of international competitiveness (Larner, 1998a). Rose (1999: 1604), for example, argues the discourse of international competitiveness is, in part, premised on each and every worker improving their 'employability' by acquiring appropriate substantive and social skills, and engaging in a constant and active search for employment. More generally, of course, the new emphasis on training is closely aligned to the rise of what has been described as 'active citizenship' (Dean, 1995; Rose, 1999). These broader shifts in governmental rationales have given rise to new relationships between state and non-state actors, although there are also significant continuities with earlier labour force strategies. Not surprisingly, for example, both government departments charged with the supply of 'human capital' are present. Work and Income New Zealand (WINZ) have identified call centres as a work place to which people with

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relatively low levels of formal education might gain access. They run regional call centre courses aimed at target groups such as Maori, single mothers and long-term unemployed. As a publicity brochures states; 'The hours can be flexible and suit either sole parents, avoiding potential childcare difficulties, or those for whom part-time work or multiple casual jobs is the best option' (WINZ, 2000: 14).9However, in the design and delivery of these courses WINZ is now working in close association with local government via the regionally based Economic Development Agencies. For example, the Far North District Council, which serves a relatively poor and predominantly rural region with no major urban centres, signalled its intention to develop a call centre strategy (Nezo Zenlnnd Herald, 8 June 1999). The Council announced that a major out-sourcing company would locate a call centre/data processing centre in this area, and that WINZ would support the initiative by providing training courses. While there has been little progress to date, this example indicates how regional development ambitions may come to involve national agencies, local authorities and private sector interests. Whereas WINZ is focused on mobilizing those who are not currently in paid work as potential call centre employees, the Immigration Department is facilitating international recruitment. Following a precedent set in the IT industry, they have agreed to give special exemption to call centre managers in the context of perceived labour shortages. It is argued that the skills shortage are particularly acute at the level of team leaders and call centre managers with 3-5 years experience, whereas New Zealanders can be trained up for more basic jobs. More generally, migrants are seen as a key target group for call centre recruitment. Once competency in foreign languages was identified as a key issue for international call centre activities, greater efforts were made to highlight New Zealand's ethnic diversity. For example, regional development authorities were asked to collate and make available language data in order to demonstrate the existence of a multi-lingual labour force to prospective investors. More generally, industry commentators began to argue that New Zealand should market its 'multicultural flavour' as part of the CCAI (Infotech Weekly, 14 June 1999), and Trade NZ (1999) now explicitly identifies New Zealand's multi-cultural population and diverse language skills in promotion material. The role of national and regional governments in constructing a labour force is well established. More recently attention has been paid to the role of 'labour market intermediaries' such as private employment and temporary help agencies. In her recent book Vosko (2000) identifies not only the significance of these agencies as labour market entities per se, but also discusses how they actively shape the employment relationship. She describes how, since the 1970s, temporary help agencies have expanded into new sectors and extended their responsibilities well 661

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beyond the recruitment and placement of 'stop-gap' workers. Activities now include areas such as hiring, dismissal, health and safety and training. Her analysis also alerts us to the ways in which state agencies increasingly work in 'partnership' with non-state agencies. In the CCAI, for example, both WNIZ and the Economic Development Agencies have developed formal links with human resources companies. Many of these companies are globally networked, and draw on international experience to inform their New Zealand-based activities. They have long been involved in both recruitment and placement, with call centres being seen as a lucrative new business. In part, this is because of the nature of the sector. Not only is there high turnover, as discussed above, but also the approach to personnel management is highly structured, with the vast majority of call centres using skills and/or aptitude testing in their recruitment strategies (CCR, 1999: 10). A plethora of private training providers has also emerged around this initiative. However, unlike the human resources companies, these are predominantly small 'home-grown' organizations. They run both 'preemployment' courses, designed to identify people who have the 'right attitude' or an 'aptitude' for call centre work, and basic training courses covering skills such as dealing with people, handling telephones and call centre technologies. Greater emphasis is also being placed on workplace-based training, with virtually all New Zealand call centres now conducting in-house training for both new entrant and experienced agencies (CCR, 1999: 10). Internal training packages are tailored to need and can involve anything from personal presentation to product knowledge and specific technical skills. Efforts to make call centres a more attractive employment option has recently seen the development of nationally recognized qualifications for team leaders and call centre managers, with the aspiration of creating a long-term career path and more portable structures. In all of these efforts, private training providers play an increasingly significant role. As concerns about potential labour shortages have grown, call centre training has become more formalized. Some of the private training providers have linked themselves with academic organizations in an effort to gain greater credibility. In addition, at least four polytechnics now run call centre courses, and pilot training programmes have been launched in secondary schools. These initiatives reflect strong aspirations to build a training regime that operates from secondary school into tertiary level diploma and degree courses in order to build a resource base for both domestic and international call centres. The stated intention is that call centres might come to be seen as a career option. Yet, as Buchanan and Koch-Schulte (2000: 6) argue, in many ways these more formal courses are superfluous if seen from the point of view of the worker and/or firm for whom short, skill- or product-based courses are seen as

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more effective. What they do, however, is provide tangible evidence to potential foreign investors of a guaranteed supply of available call centre workers. Notable by their absence are trade unions.1 They were not invited to join the CCAI, although they have played a limited role in the development of industry Unit Standards. Much more visible is the Call Centre Managers Association. Historically a small voluntary organization, the CCMA has used the publicity generated by the CCAI as an opportunity to develop a higher profile and 'professionalize' their activities. They have opened up their membership beyond management to include supervisors and team leaders, and are one of the driving forces behind a proposed National Certificate in Call Centre Operations to 'benchmark' minimum standards for new recruits. Their CEO features prominently in call centre conferences and media discussions, and actively facilitates the contacting and mobilization of potential call centre workers through mechanisms such as road shows and careers days. A final set of experts who come together around the CCAI and the issue of labour shortages are the disparate information providers who are attempting to make a living from the marketing of 'hard facts'. These experts are part of the new specialist elite described by Porter (1995). They range from international management consultants to small selfemployed entrepreneurs. Examples of their outputs include remuneration surveys, location studies, customer satisfaction surveys, and benchmarking reports. These are commercial documents intended to make a profit. Some of these companies also double as call centre consultants who offer advice and expertise on establishing and improving call centre processes and practices. Like the human resources companies, they are often active in more than one country, most commonly Australia, and many are actively exploring the possibility of exporting their business practices. This account of the new forms of 'post-welfarist' expertise is by no means exclusive. There is a raft of experts around the edges of the CCAI including conference organizers, people in marketing, public relations and software development. Aptitude testing, for example, is dependent on the ongoing refinement of assessment software packages. Moreover, the roles of the post-welfarist experts are not yet set, and are being defined and redefined in relation to each other. That said, they are all steadily increasing in public profile. It is noticeable that many of the organizations and actors mentioned above now appear regularly in the programmes of the conferences, workshops and networking events that characterize the call centre sector more generally. The crucial point is that these diverse experts understand themselves as actively involved in the creation of a labour force to fulfil the requirements of both domestic and international call centres.

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There are some other, more general, points that can be made about these experts. First, unlike the experts associated with the welfare state, very few of them are members of the traditional professions. Rather, their disciplinary backgrounds (if they have one) are likely to be the new growth areas such as marketing, public relations and human resources. It is also interesting to note that they are also disproportionately women. Finally, rather than acting directly as state functionaries, they are involved in disseminating techniques of self-management or providing information - for example, risk assessments - that enable self actualizing organizations and individuals to govern themselves and assess their own performance (Rose 1999: 147). In this regard, they exemplify the process of 'governing at a distance' that characterizes advanced liberalism more generally.

THE STRATEGY
In the previous section the array of institutions and organizations that have come together around the 'problem' of labour shortages was described. Herein I illustrate how the post-welfarist experts are inventing novel ways in enrol subjects in their ambitions. In his work on unemployment, Dean (1995,1998) draws attention to the relatively minor practices, such as pedagogical techniques, training schemes and skills packs that act on the conduct of the potential worker by obliging them to improve their employability by gaining particular skills. This kind of analysis draws our attention away from a focus on discourse, and encourages us to think about the devices invented to give effect to new forms of rule, and the ways in which they impact on those who are the subjects of these practices of governance. In this particular case, they allow greater understanding of why it can be argued the 'post-welfarist' experts are not simply recruiting an already existing labour force, they are actually inventing and producing it in very specific forms. The specific example discussed is the establishment of a toll free number designed to create a database of potential call centre workers. I am not claiming this is the only, or even a typical, case. There are a wide range of other initiatives underway including road shows, careers days, conferences and media discussions. Buchanan (2000) for example, describes a 'job fair' in her work on New Brunswick call centres. Nor is the use of a toll free number for screening potential call centre workers somehow abnormal. Indeed it is important to stress that these techniques are widely used in private sector recruitment procedures, reflecting an increasing emphasis on the psychological, dispositional and aspirational capacities of workers. Rather I am using the example of the toll free number as a lens through which to illustrate the intellectual and practical labour involved in constructing a labour force, emphasizing the inventive

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and creative aspects of this project. Close attention to such strategies gives us a much better understanding of how particular labour forces are an effect of experimentation and contingent practices, rather than being produced directly by 'globalization'. The toll free number is an initiative created by Adecco, a human resources company that is well established in the field of call centre recruitment and placement. In March 1999 the call centre manager commissioned a communications proposal to 'lift the call centre profile'. Objectives including building the pool of potential call centre employees and increasing the number and calibre of both temporary and permanent call centre candidates (Consultus Communications, 1999). Target audiences were also identified; men and women returning or joining the workforce, schools, universities, careers advisors and particular demographic groupings. Explicitly mentioned as key target groups among the latter were mothers returning to work and students. The intention was to expand recruitment beyond those usually targeted, in order to identify and attract 'high quality' people who might not have otherwise considered call centres as an employment alternative. It was assumed that many of these people might be in between jobs, rather than looking for career positions, so some of the perceived disadvantages of call centre work (such as the lack of a career structure, unsociable shifts, and/or low pay) might not seem as pressing. While it was intended that a range of 'tools' would be used in the campaign, most prominent was a full colour brochure entitled 'Why call centres are a great place to work'. It was tied to a toll free number that people interested in obtaining further information about call centres were encouraged to phone. The brochure described call centre workers as; 'people who have a great way with people and can put a smile in their voice', 'people who like to work flexible or part time hours to keep up with their children, studies, sporting or cultural activities', and 'people who want to work in a fast-paced and changing environment with the latest technology and training'. It included seven profiles of call centre workers at well-known New Zealand companies. The workers were from a range of demographic backgrounds (men and women of varying ethnicities) and the target groups were deliberately represented; mothers with young children, a recent migrant and a language student. Companion strategies, all of which highlighted the toll free number, included an extensive media campaign, again focused on target groups via women's and student magazines, and a more generic ad used in situations vacant advertising. Invest Wellington, the economic development agency for the city of Wellington, assisted with the initial distribution of the brochure. Wellington has positioned itself as New Zealand's 'call centre capital' and Invest Wellington is running a scheme to attract further national and

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international call centres to the city. However, the city is already reputedly experiencing a shortage of call centre workers - hence the support for the initiative. Leaflets were distributed to approximately 50 high schools in the Wellington region and the four polytechnics. Distribution in Wellington was supplemented by additional leafleting in Auckland, often accompanied by presentations from an Adecco representative. Not only were conventional sites such as polytechnics, call centre training courses and computer training institutes targeted, so too were the Kindergarten Association, the Chinese Friendship Society, the Citizens Advice Bureau and the Auckland Community Learning Centre. In total, 4,000 copies of the leaflet were distributed in the effort to attract 'a new generation' of call centre workers. The toll free number not only gave additional information to those interested in the 'call centre experience', it also offered them the opportunity to undergo voice assessment to examine their suitability, or otherwise, for call centre employment. The call follows a tightly scripted procedure. The first part provides more information about call centres, describing them as a customer service environment, involving team work, dealing with a variety of customers. At the same time, the caller is being informally assessed on the basis of their pronunciation, clarity of speech, command of English and use of colloquialisms. Should the caller be deemed suitable for further consideration, at the end of the preliminary discussion they are asked if they remain interested in call centre employment. If so, after providing demographic, employment and skills data, they proceed to a voice test. The voice test is based on seven categories of 'competencies'. While in human resources practice, competency is variously defined as knowledge, skill, ability, behaviour (Du Gay et al., 1996: 13), this case focuses on behaviours rather than previous experience or qualifications. Because most call centres have their own product/service based training programmes, it is understood that the potential of the person depends on personal qualities. Thus, while the preference is for people with customer service experience, a good phone manner and an ability to handle difficult customers are understood as equally valuable. The competency framework therefore combines 'emotional labour' (Hoshchild, 1983) with the standardization and codification of conduct. 'Competencies' such as a positive attitude, good listening and questioning skills and the ability to 'smile down the phone' are understood to be measurable and quantifiable. The competencies are gauged through a role-playing exercise. As the candidate moves through the role-play (which involves dealing with a hypothetical inbound query and/or complaint) each 'competency' is allocated a numerical rating by a trained observer. The measures are entered into a software package that pools the data to create seven 'mannerism

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ratings' that provide the basis for assessment of the person's performance. Mannerism ratings include categories such as 'attitude', 'responding and rapport building' and 'listening and questioning'. The candidate is also given a final evaluation score in the form of a percentage grade. Feedback is then provided to the candidate in the form of a letter and a formal report that lists their mannerism ratings, the total evaluation score, and gives additional feedback in the form of written comments. Those who 'pass' the voice assessment are entered into a national call centre candidate database, and then referred to an employment consultant elsewhere in the firm to discuss their job options. Those who 'fail' are encouraged to undertake additional training. The evaluation report is used to identify their specific training needs and a recommendation for a relevant training provider is included with the letter to the 'failed' candidate. The intention is that the potential call centre employee can develop particular competencies through additional training, then resit the voice assessment in with a better chance of 'passing'. In this context, the relevance of du Gay's (1996) observation that competencies are key to new entrepreneurial subjectivities becomes apparent. Potential call centre workers are being encouraged to work on themselves in order to realize their own potential. The toll free number was initially understood as an experimental strategy designed to generate additional interest in call centres. However, it has been more successful than was initially anticipated. An additional staff person was employed to deal with the incoming calls, and the stated aspiration is to build and maintain the largest national call centre candidate database in the country. At least one private training provider has developed modules that directly link to the categories used in the software package. The voice assessment package is also being used more widely to screen candidates as they complete courses run by WINZ and private sector providers. Finally, the very existence of the database is also being used as evidence of a large pool of potential call centre workers in New Zealand. It is around relatively minor experiments, such as the toll free number, that the post-welfarist experts are establishing new relationships with each other, inventing new ways of intervening in the labour force and, indeed, reconfiguring the composition of the labour force itself. As Walters (1999: 315) explains, these experts are 'not simply uncovering the workings of an economy-in-general that is already there. Rather, they are involved in a creative activity. They are bringing new dimensions of the economic into existence, discovering new mechanisms by which its performance can be optimized and re-engineered'. This is not an innocent process. The toll free number is a banal mechanism that operates in a context where it is already assumed that new call centre workers are likely to be found in particular social groups. It also builds in the

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taken-for-grantedness of emotional labour and customer care. In this context, the question of who might be an appropriate call centre worker is certainly foreshadowed, and perhaps already answered.

CONCLUSION
By way of a conclusion, it is useful to link the case study back to broader discussions of globalization and governance. Many commentators analyse globalizing processes in terms of pre-given dynamics of capitalism and/ or patriarchy, then focus on how state actors mediate the gendered effects of globalization by either resisting or promoting global economic processes, while at the same time often reinforcing gendered ideologies about women's roles as wives and mothers (Ward, 1990: 18). In contrast, this paper focuses on how changes in global economic activity are mediated by the prevailing rationality of government (Hindess, 1998: 211). Thus, rather than taking for granted the 'fact' that globalization is often premised on the exploitation of vulnerable feminised labour forces, attention is paid to how it is these labour forces are actively imagined and created in particular forms. The intent is to show that governmental objects and subjects do not pre-exist governmental processes. Moreover, these governmental processes involve multiple actors. The case study analysis identifies a range of 'post-welfarist' experts involved in the constitution of a globalized labour force, many of whom are not state actors. It is not being argued that the particular assemblage identified is somehow 'typical'. Inevitably, post-welfarist expertise will have varying shapes, scales, geographies and sociologies, and close attention is required to analyse the diversity of new governmental forms. Rather, the discussion highlights the interplay between different agencies, and explores the lines of convergence and deviation through which a particular governmental configuration emerged. In this case, the issue was how to create a ready supply of low wage workers to fulfil the requirements of foreign investors locating their Asia-Pacific call centres in New Zealand. It was shown that new strategies for recruitment and attachment are being used, particularly by those involved in hiring and training, and how this has entailed efforts to incorporate new groups of workers, many of whom have been historically marginalized from the core labour force. More generally, it is not helpful to analyse this initiative in terms of traditional social science dichotomies such as state and society, or even public sector and private sector. Indeed, the governmentality literature would lead us to understand these very divisions as artefacts of governmental processes (see Dean, 1999; Rose, 1999).In this case, state agencies are becoming more market oriented, and private sector agencies are moving into terrain once understood as that of the state. Nor is it being

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argued that New Zealanders are somehow forced into these new forms of training and employment. Quite obviously, many of those who participate in low wage, part-time, temporary and casualized forms of employment do so by 'choice' because it suits their needs as mothers, home-makers, students etc. Another contribution of the governmentality literature has been to show how advanced liberalism governs through freedom, that is, through the regulated and accountable 'choices' of autonomous subjects. In this case, the apparent exercise of 'choice' is producing workers for jobs that no one else wants (see also Peck et d., 2001). Finally, it should be noted that this paper is not simply an application of the governmentality framework, it is also a contribution to that literature. Analysts influenced by governmentality have focused on the role of expertise in making objects such as 'the economy', 'the firm' and 'society' into knowable and governable entities. However, existing discussions tend to focus on forms of expertise associated with the welfare state. Moreover, despite their avowed aversion to state-centred analyses, governmentality scholars often assume that power and rule operates at the domestic level, and much less attention has been paid to forms of expertise and practices associated with global/international rule (notable exceptions include Dillon, 1995; Lui-Bright, 1997; Luke, 1996 and Hindess, 1998). The analysis contained herein thus makes a contribution to a discussion of what has been called elsewhere 'international arts of government' (Larner and Walters, 2002). In this regard, governmentality analysts might usefully interrogate other concepts, identities and practices taken for granted by scholars of the global/international, including international political economists.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
Thanks to Hana Frederick and the member of the CCAI for allowing my attendance at their meetings, and Nicola Tavich at Adecco for her support. An earlier version of the paper received useful comments at the Global Conference on Economic Geography held at the National University of Singapore, 5-9 December 2000. Roger Dale, William Walters, Vivienne Elizabeth and three RIPE referees also made very helpful suggestions.

NOTES
1 This term is used as a short-hand term to refer to contemporary reconfigurations of rule. It does not mean the 'social' and its agencies have been completely usurped. See Dean (1999) for more details. 2 I am not making a causal argument. The reasons for the shift from 'labour' to 'human resources' are multiple, and include increasing occupational complexity and changing perceptions of the nature of the labour force.

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For high profile international examples, see Jarman et al. (1998) on New Brunswick; Breathnach (2000) on Ireland; Richardson and Marshall (1999) on the UK. Closer to home, Tasmania is perceived to be a 'successful' case of a regional development strategy based on call centres. It is difficult to know how exactly many people already work in New Zealand call centres. Because government statistics are collated at an industry level, and call centres are found within a diverse range of industries offering services such as sales, reservations, information provision, technical support and banking there are no official figures available. Existing industry studies - for example ACA (2001) and Sheffields (2000) - tend to be based on relatively small samples. While the lack of rigorous data is widely recognized as a difficulty, the resources to conduct a large scale survey are not currently available. For more detail of the initiative itself see Larner (2001). This practice, most common in industries such as telecommunications companies, banks and utilities where the setting up of call centres has involved significant organizational restructuring, has seen estimated turnover rates of up to 40 percent (Infoteclz Weekly, 12 Oct 1998).Overall, average agent turnover rate in New Zealand is 21 percent, with the majority of those leaving call centre employment rather than moving to another call centre (ACA, 2001: 85). While the average FTE wage in New Zealand is around $34,840 per annum, a call centre remuneration survey shows that an experienced full time customer service agent earns an average of $28,000 per annum, with the possibility of extending this to $33,000 if bonuses and incentives are included (Sheffields, 2000). It should also be noted that participants in this survey represent the 'high end' of the New Zealand call centre industry. Thanks to Roger Dale for helping me frame this claim. It is interesting to note that while the graduates of these courses have formed a readily available source of new workers for WINZ's own call centres, private sector agencies are less enthusiastic about them, claiming it is often hard to find placements for them. While call centres have been identified as fertile ground for the recruitment of new union members, particularly around issues of health and safety, until recently union organizers in New Zealand have only had limited workplace access. An additional challenge is that many call centre workers are young people with limited previous involvement with unions, and the highly individualistic labour practices of call centres often mitigate against collective organization. However, FinSec, which has begun to position itself as the call centre union, has been internationally recognized for their attempts to contact 'on-line workers' through 'on-line' mechanisms. See: <http:/ /www. union-network.org>.

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LARNER: GLOBALIZATION, G O V E R N M E N T A L I T Y A N D EXPERTISE

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REVIEW O F I N T E R N A T I O N A L POLITICAL E C O N O M Y

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