Management and Organizational Behavior
Businesses are multifaceted systems consisting of people and machines (tools) and interrelate in complex modes to achieve an objective. This constitutes a socio-technical system, made up of social and technical portions. This paper discusses how social part of socio-technical system causes the Telebank Call Center to be something other than a perfectly smoothly functioning machine. Discussion Telebank Call center helps the bank to provide timely services to its clients through enhanced communication over the phone and internet.
The main activity carried out at Center is to answer consumer queries regarding account balance and previous transactions (Callaghan, 2001). In addition, the department is involved in inter-account money transfer on behalf of clients and terminating cheque transactions as well as “ordering cheque books, standing orders or copies of statements” (Lilley et al, n. d. ). Majority of worker in this department are women. The department is functional from eight in the morning to eight at night on weekdays, and eight to twelve noon on Saturdays.
In this department, machine and social strategies are employed to ensure success. According to Lilley et al (n. d. ), high quality “information and communication technology” that manages calls, banking services and clerks is employed. Further, control is aided
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The data is then used to statistically assess the team and individual performance on weekly basis. The one who receives maximum number of calls get rewarded. This puts more pressure to clerks in addition to constant phone flashing when an incoming call is waiting to be answered (Lilley et at, n. d. ). Further, Light Emitting Diodes (LED) on the wall indicates number of calls yet to be answered as well as the period they have been ringing. This makes workers to act fast. Clerk’s activities on accounts of clients can be viewed by the management at any time due this high technology.
In addition, control on who receives the incoming call is left to information and communication technology and “automatic call feeding system” so that a clerk only put a headset and the system decides who to receive which call. The system makes sure that workers are tied to their desks so that they do not move around the premises and comeback when the phone rings. Furthermore, the management has set target on number of call one should receive in a day. This makes clerks to shorten call duration so that the system directs a call to whoever is free for a longer period of time.
In this situation, much of the control is left to machines (Callaghan, 2001). This may lead to frustration as well as dissatisfaction by clerks due to intense pressure. However, the management feels satisfied by the output made by workers. Occasionally, clerks resist this control by machines and shift the blame to management. More so, workers are angered by control over the call duration and frequency. They argue that the strategy of receiving many calls per day only lowers the quality of customer care service. In addition, workers loose value for labor and themselves.
As Lilley et al n. d. puts it, “clerks can be understood (as perhaps most of us can) as valuing a sense of themselves as helpful, moral or useful people. ” As way of resistance, clerks use customer care language in assisting clients and protect their job from being seen as meaningless work, only aimed at making profits. This helps workers to upkeep a sense of themselves since they can be satisfied by quality of services they provide rather than merely receiving many calls. In this case, workers are resisting to be reduced to uncaring robots by virtue of their work.
In this situation, clerks work at their own pace to ensure quality on services provided to clients. The reality that clerks resist working under targets is seen as direct challenge to control by the management. In addition, clerks challenge the bank’s morality since it does not care about the quality of service given but only care about the profits. Despite the resistant, the management argues that clerks provide customer care service while still meeting the set targets at the advantage of the bank. Further, bank leaders view that these workers are highly controlled and do not realize.
It can therefore be said that conflict between managerial control and clerks’ resistance is going to persist in this firm (Lilley et al, n. d. ). This put the concept of the organization as a socio-technical machine into question. In this case, the bank seems to be in control of workers as they meet the set targets. However, these workers are highly dissatisfied and they see the bank as not valuing customer service. Further, some representatives disregard targets and yet, the management cannot discipline them.
Otherwise, the bank will be seen as not caring for its clients through ‘customer care service’ (Lilley et al, n. d. ). The concept of organization as socio-technical machine is beneficial if applied appropriately, or it is disastrous. There should be enough balancing and neither social part nor technical part should dominate the other. Conclusion Telebank call center uses sophisticated information and communication technology which employs the use of automatic call feeding system to control clerks.
In addition, the department uses LED and uniquely flashing phones so that workers can act fast. However, this has led to resistance from clerks who fail to observe targets and uphold the value of customer care. In addition, workers have challenged the morals of the bank since it seems to employ machines in order to realize high profits without caring for its clients. References Callaghan, G. (2001) Socio-Technical Systems and Call Centers: A Case Study Investigation. ESRC End of Award Report. R000222799. Open University.
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