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Working Conditions, Satisfaction of Front-Line Agents and their Intent to quit or stay in French and Japanese Call Centers

Abstract : The research results support the majority of the predictions made by Price’s model, including the correlational relationships of satisfaction between various organizational/managerial practices and the attitudinal expectations (stay-quit) of individuals. Satisfaction in call centers is largely a function of three major factors: autonomy at work, stress and pay level. These fundamental facts, common to France and Japan, are consistent with the conclusions of much past research. Call center activities, standardized by the same technologies and similar operation procedures, partly impose the same burdens on the management wherever they are implemented: time constraint, mental fatigue, pressure on labor costs, etc. These pressures produce in turn the same type of attitudinal reactions from front-line agents in both countries. Globally, the basic logics of Price’s model are confirmed. However, there are, between France and Japan, many differences in human resource management strategies as well as in the cognitive and psychological perceptions of the call center agents hidden behind this universal trend. The international comparative study allowed us to show simultaneously the fundamental logics of human reactions vis-à-vis basic stimuli, and an array of human perceptions/attitudes necessarily conditioned by the societal or contextual factors of each society. Satisfaction depends partially on the real pay level, but also on the different ways in which wages are distributed and perceived, according to the socio-organizational position of each individual, both in France and in Japan. The distributive justice incorporated in the employment contract is by nature heavily “context-dependent”. Moreover, such exchange is not only organized between the employer and the employee within a particular organization, but also embedded in a societal space that transcends it. In other words, it also depends on the societal context which gives social meanings to it. The other remarkable differences existing between the two countries are linked to socio-demographic factors. Even with similar characteristics, call center agents have different expectations as to the employment or wage conditions, and ultimately their future career plans. These attitudinal reactions are a consequence of HRM strategy in each country, but are, more fundamentally, conditioned by a societal logic which produces social groups in an original way. In this regard, the family structure and the gender division of work are of prime importance in generating such differences, as this sector is dominated by the female population. Thus, they are at the same time the products of and the “resources” used by the call centers’ business strategy. Call centers try to build productive efficiency, by offering them different types of psychological contracts.
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Hiroatsu Nohara, Michio Nitta. Working Conditions, Satisfaction of Front-Line Agents and their Intent to quit or stay in French and Japanese Call Centers. Revue de Gestion des Ressources Humaines, Eska, 2014, 94 (4), pp.39. ⟨10.3917/grhu.094.0039⟩. ⟨halshs-02924345⟩

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