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Threats to the sustainability of the outsourced call center industry in the Philippines: implications for language policy


This study overviews current threats to the sustainability of the outsourced call center industry in the Philippines and discusses implications for macro and micro language policies given the use of English in this cross-cultural interactional context. This study also summarizes the present state of outsourced call centers in the Philippines, and describes the Philippine advantage in outsourcing as well as English education programs that affect the employment of Filipino professionals in U.S.-owned call centers. A brief qualitative analysis of excerpts of service transactions is provided to illustrate common communication problems potentially impacting the quality of service transactions in outsourced call centers. It is argued that the use of English by Filipino agents, together with the prevailing U.S. perceptions of outsourcing and the dynamics of cross-cultural interactions, largely influence the success or failure of service encounters. The findings here point to the need for more detailed analysis of communication in this context, which will help improve the quality of service in Philippine call centers and better define the language-based needs of Filipino professionals in serving their U.S. customers.

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Friginal, E. Threats to the sustainability of the outsourced call center industry in the Philippines: implications for language policy. Lang Policy 8, 51–68 (2009).

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  • Outsourced call centers
  • Cross-cultural interaction
  • Language policy
  • English in the Philippines
  • Globalization