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Picture of Outsourcing and Service Work in the New Economy

Outsourcing and Service Work in the New Economy

The Case of Call Centres in Mexico City

Author(s): José-Luis Álvarez-Galván

Book Description

This book examines the impact of outsourcing on workers and their employment conditions in the new economy. To do so, the call centre industry in Mexico City is analysed through a large number of in-depth interviews with workers and managers, available statistics and visits to leading firms in the sector. The case of call centres is paradigmatic as it is often seen as a flag-ship industry of the new economy, rapidly growing and subject to high pressures for costs reduction. The Mexican experience is crucially relevant to understand employment conditions in a weak institutional setting where labour protection is low and business competition intense.

Overall, outsourcing has gained popularity as a mechanism to deal with the uncertainty of increasingly challenging business environments. Nonetheless, the practice of outsourcing also raises important concerns. This book identifies those managerial practices which have a substantial impact on workers and their employment conditions such as: job designs; customer segmentation; non-standard contracts; intensified supervision; union avoidance; limited career opportunities; and strict social divisions in the workplace. These findings also suggest that a number of practices that were common in the ‘old’ economy are still dominant in the organisation of work in the twenty-first century.

The book is a useful reference for scholars and students concerned with employment and labour studies, economic development, and globalisation.


ISBN-13: 978-1-4438-3738-5
ISBN-10: 1-4438-3738-5
Date of Publication: 01/04/2012
Pages / Size: 225 / A5
Price: £39.99


José-Luis Álvarez-Galván holds a PhD from the London School of Economics and Political Science, a master’s degree from the University of Massachusetts and a bachelor’s degree from the National Autonomous University of Mexico. He has been a Visiting Researcher at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona, Spain, and has published extensively on foreign direct investment, employment and development. He currently lives in Paris where he works as a Consultant for the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).