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Many people are currently working in call centres and much more are expected to work in them in the near future. Motivation of these call centre employees is of utmost importance so as to refrain them from leaving their work.
Purpose: The purpose of this dissertation is to dredge out the factors that affect the motivation of the employees working in call centres and to contribute to research in the area of motivation among call centre employees.
Method: The method that will be used is through questionnaires, where employees will be able to complete a set of questions which will specifically address the subject of ‘Motivation’ amongst the workers.
Benefits of the study: This study will be of great benefit as it responds to the call for more investigation into the factors that de-motivate call centre workers to perform. It will further be of importance to call centre managers who, through considering this study will be able to rethink their approaches to productivity, particularly on how they could better motivate their staff to achieve higher output.
Almost all consumers have had experience with call centres (Anton, 2000; Dean, 2002). Why are they essential? Call centres are strategically important to many organisations because they are often the major customer interface, and they can provide a service-based competitive edge using high volume, low cost delivery via telephones (Callaghan and Thompson, 2001). Call centres are a growing part of the service industry in many countries and a substantial amount of call centre jobs have been created in this sector in recent years (Baumgartner, Good, & Udris, 2002; Holman, 2003; Moltzen & Van Dick, 2002; Wegge, Van Dick, Fisher, West, & Dawson, 2006). Researchers already recognised that service work, that is, work in call centres was stressful according to a study carried out by Donovan in 1920. The conflicting demands for both quality and quantity, and the emotional nature of customer interactions all contribute to the strain that call centre workers experience (Varca, 2006). Moreover, scholars have shown that call centre workers are under great pressure to meet their productivity goals at the same time as delivering quality customer service (Deery et al., 2002; Kinnie et al., 2000; Singh, 2000). As a result, call centre work carries with it high levels of employee stress.
Consequently, the call centre employees need to be constantly motivated so as they demonstrate keenness and enthusiasm for their work. Motivation is simply the process of arousing and sustaining goal-directed behavior (Nelson & Quick, 1997). One of the manager’s primary tasks is to motivate people in the organization to perform at high levels (Moorhead & Griffin, 1992). The Hawthorne Studies conducted by Elton Mayo from 1927 to 1932 showed that views of how managers behave were a vital aspect of motivation and improved performance. This study brought to light the fact that people’s psychological and social needs have to be taken into account to make them feel important and thus motivate them to work. In addition, the work of Maslow in 1943 provided a major impetus to employee motivation since he put forward a theoretical framework of individual personality development and motivation based on a hierarchy of human needs. Likewise, Herzberg and McGregor also developed theories of motivation. Herzberg was of view that to motivate workers to give their best, proper attention must be given to a different set of factors, the ‘motivation’ or ‘growth’ factors. Additionally, McGregor argued that the style of management adopted is a function of the manager’s attitudes towards human nature and behaviour at work. He put forward two suppositions called Theory X and Theory Y which are based on popular assumptions about work and people.
The ingredients of motivation lie within the employees themselves. So, managers should have the knack to motivate their de-motivated employees since, as mentioned above, employees at call centres face a lot of ordeals. Moreover, organizations are made of their individual members. The individual is a central feature in any workplace whether acting isolation or in a group, in response to the expectations of the organization. Where the needs of the individual and the demands of the organisation are incompatible, it can result in frustration and conflict. So, managers have as main aim to keep the motivation of their employees at a high level so as to achieve desired results and performance.
Call centres are facing a major problem these days, namely absenteeism which can have a large impact service quality. Due to this problem, there is fewer staff to handle customer interactions, wait queues tend to swell and call centre employees are under high work pressure. This tends to impact directly on their morale and similar behaviour may be fostered in those left to ‘carry the can’. Call centre work is very monotonous due to highly repetitive nature of the job. Thus, call centres run the risk of the employees easily losing enthusiasm and becoming demoralised. Moreover, call centres provide limited career opportunities and they risk losing their best people if they cannot provide adequate career prospects. Talented employees lose interest in their work; they become de-motivated and stop working towards the high standards they set up before. Additionally, call centre employees have to work in night shifts which pose a problem to them. Employees, mainly the female staff fear working at night for security reasons. Social life is almost inexistent for them, since they work all the time. They also face problems such as inconvenient postures due to computer work and high noise level. It can thus be deduced that the work of these persons is not so simple and very demanding.
AIMS AND OBJECTIVES
This study has as aims to determine the factors which affect the motivation of call centre employees. Its objectives are to acknowledge the problems faced by call centre staff so that the managers of call centres take necessary incentives to motivate their staff. This will help create a better working environment in which each employee will thrive. Besides, this study will benefit to the learning population who may be doing research on this particular topic.
There are two types of data that can be collected, namely primary data or secondary data.
Secondary data is data which exists already and which has been produced by some other person. It is known as secondary research because the person using it is the secondary user of the data.
Primary data, on the other hand, refers to the process of generating and collecting original data from the intended operation for an organisation. It is the organisation which determines precisely and accurately what information is needed and from whom it is needed. It then sets about acquiring the data. Primary data sources are obtained by using one or more of the following techniques such as observation, surveys, experiments and questionnaires.
To proceed with the study, primary data will be used, namely questionnaires. A questionnaire is a tool used by to deliver questions to respondents and then noting down their answers. Three types of information can be collected while using questionnaires.
Fact: data such as demographic information, age, gender and so on.
Opinion: beliefs, attitudes, feelings and knowledge.
Motive: knowing people’s reasons for a particular belief or action.
Questionnaires will be used since they will help to compare results as all the employees of call centres will be asked the same set of questions logically related to the problem under study, that is, factors affecting motivation. Thus, their responses can be added meaningfully.
At around 150 questionnaires will be distributed to the employees. Firstly, the method of sampling used will be convenience sampling. Convenience sampling will enable me to give the questionnaires to any person whom I know, who will in turn give them to other colleagues to be filled in. Cluster sampling will also help me distribute the questionnaires. This consists of drawing up a list of clusters that together comprise the whole population and then selecting a sample of clusters (by using simple random sampling). The call centre employee population is conveniently divided into groups. For example, there are employees doing morning shifts and those doing night shifts. So, questionnaires will be given to these two groups accordingly.
BENEFITS OF THE RESEARCH
There are several benefits of the research. Firstly, this research may be used as a tool for managers to motivate their staff. Managers, as well as employers, will get a glimpse of the factors affecting the performance of the employees and through this; they will be able to implement several measures to encourage them to work. For example, it could be found that employees value getting access to training and development programs (Shah and Bandi, 2003). Having access to vocational training is perceived as a real job enrichment and benefit, so the organisation would highly benefit from it. Furthermore, through this study, the employment rate could increase. Since managers would be aware of how to attract and motivate their staff, more and more persons would be eager to join the call centre industry. As a result, the rate of unemployment will decrease, hence benefiting to the Government and the society as well. Amongst these target audiences, that is the managers and the Government, there is also the learning population which will get benefit from it. Students may use this study as a means to acquire more knowledge on call centre industry or even use the data to carry on with their projects.
While conducting the research, several direct and indirect costs need to be taken into account. Expenses such as printing and photocopying of questionnaires and transport need to be catered for. Moreover, a budget is also being allowed for unexpected expenses which may crop up in the course of the research.
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