The Economic Geography of South Africa’s Call Centre Industry

Abstract

Over the past two decades, scholarship on call centres has grown with contributions from a range of disciplines including management science, urban studies, organisation studies and sociology. One aspect of call centres that has received only limited attention is their location or economic geography. This article contributes to the growing body of scholarship on call centres by investigating locational issues in the case of the developing economy of South Africa. The study highlights the critical importance for call centre location of access to labour, labour costs, public transport and availability of suitable premises. Current government incentives have little significance on location, a factor which underlies the strong concentration of call centres in South Africa’s major cities, in particular Johannesburg and Cape Town.

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Acknowledgements

Thanks are due to Wendy Job for preparing all the figures, Andy Quinan for locational data, Rod Jones and the Call Centre Management Group for survey support, Roland Witham for assistance on industry research sources, and for comments received from referees and Skye Norfolk. The University of Johannesburg provided research funding support. Usual disclaimers apply.

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Correspondence to Christian M. Rogerson.

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Pandy, W.R., Rogerson, C.M. The Economic Geography of South Africa’s Call Centre Industry. Urban Forum 23, 23–42 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12132-012-9142-4

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Keywords

  • BPO&O
  • Call centres
  • South Africa
  • Location
  • Economic geography