Standardization and Agency Intertwined

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


Woydack reconnects ethnographic findings with large-scale issues ranging from the increasing impact of technology and standardization on workplaces, to resistance vs. compliance in conceptualizing agency, to constructive processes of learning and training. Using insights drawn from the intermediary role of middle management and moving beyond the often poor analyses of call transcripts in the literature, Woydack critically assesses the rigid opposition between resistance and compliance. Recognizing the multi-level hierarchy of corporate work, activities particular to each level, and the influences that move across these levels, she transcends analyses of call centers and their labor as standardization by offering a humane perspective on productive goal-oriented agency that is compliant yet transformative, structurally sound yet innovative in practice.


Transpositional institutional ethnography Resistance Compliance Creative compliance Upskilling Monitoring Call centers Standardization Calling scripts Textual trajectories Ethnography of corporations Linguistic ethnography Stigma Rules within rules Agency Transcontextual analysis Multi-level hierarchy of corporate work Extexualization Contextualization Recontextualization Literacy studies University management Institutional ethnography Ethnography Text trajectories Organizational ethnography Language management Diversity management 


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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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