Getting to Know CallCentral: A First Encounter

  • Johanna Woydack
Part of the Communicating in Professions and Organizations book series (PSPOD)


Woydack draws on ethnographic observations and the meme of a new agent’s day at work to provide a unique, first of its kind “detailed behind the scenes look” at how a call center operates from recruitment to language management practices. In the process, she introduces the role of monitoring, the regulation of working hours and non-work related activities, and the place of data logging in a call agent’s responsibilities and managerial decision making. Woydack further explains why scripts and standardization practices are central to the running of the call center. The chapter includes a useful summary of why actual agents join a call center labor force and how they understand their work experiences.


Call centers Monitoring Surveillance Call center management Human Resource practices in call centers Standardization Call center agent recruitment Language management Diversity management Agent views and experience of call center work Ethnography Multilingualism Management of multilingualism Semi-fluency Organizational ethnography 


  1. Woydack, Johanna. 2016. Superdiversity and a London Multilingual Call Centre. In Engaging Superdiversity: Recombining Spaces, Times and Language Practices, ed. Karel Arnaut, Martha Sif Karrebaek, Massimiliano Spotti, and Jan Blommaert, vol. 7, 220–251. Bristol: Multilingual Matters.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Woydack, Johanna, and Ben Rampton. 2016. Text Trajectories in a Multilingual Call Centre: The Linguistic Ethnography of a Calling Script. Language in Society 45 (05): 709–732.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Johanna Woydack
    • 1
  1. 1.Foreign Language Business CommunicationVienna University of Economics and BusinessViennaAustria

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