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Title: Ethical dilemmas in call centres: how to survive in the modern sweatshops?

Authors: Sara Csillag; Sandor Takacs; Csaba Kiss; Roland Szilas

Addresses: Corvinus University of Budapest, Fovam ter 8., Budapest-1093, Hungary. ' Corvinus University of Budapest, Fovam ter 8., Budapest-1093, Hungary. ' Corvinus University of Budapest, Fovam ter 8., Budapest-1093, Hungary. ' Corvinus University of Budapest, Fovam ter 8., Budapest-1093, Hungary

Abstract: In this paper, we attempt to discover links between emotional labour and ethical challenges at the bottom of the hierarchy based on a research project in a utility company's customer services department. Based on 80 in depth interviews, we also investigate and identify those narratives and tactics that the customer service employees use in order to cope with ethical problems and emotional labour, on individual and on group level. Finally, we outline some of the possible leadership patterns connected to reducing emotional burden, reframing the situation and practicing moral imagination as a potential way out of the 'emotional and ethical trap'.

Keywords: call centres; emotional labour; burnout; business ethics; ethical dilemmas; moral imagination; stress; utility companies; customer services; leadership patterns; emotion.

DOI: 10.1504/IJWI.2012.047973

International Journal of Work Innovation, 2012 Vol.1 No.1, pp.42 - 64

Available online: 13 Jul 2012 *

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