Employment and Working Life Beyond the Year 2000 : Employee Attitudes to Work in Call Centres and Software Development, 1999-2001.

  • P. Taylor (Creator)
  • Dora Scholarios (Creator)
  • P. Bain (Creator)
  • C. Baldry (Creator)
  • Jeffrey Hyman (Creator)



Alternative title: Employment and Working Life Beyond the Year 2000 : Two Emerging Employment Sectors, 1999-2001

This is a mixed methods study.

The premise of the project was that an examination of the future of work should focus not only on the workplace but also on the significance of work in peoples'' wider lives. Studies investigating the inter-relationships between work, household and community had been conducted before, in the 1960s, but in a markedly different context. Then, stereotypically, large, centralised, male, manual and highly unionised workforces predominated. Today, by contrast, many believe we live in a 'knowledge economy', characterised by smaller, dispersed workplaces, more feminised workforces, and new flexible forms of contract and work organisation. White-collar employees in sales and services are viewed as 'knowledge workers', more individualistic in their attitudes and more organisationally committed than their manual counterparts of earlier decades.

This project aimed to identify important changes and continuities in the experience of - and values attached to - work, through an investigation of two important sectors of the new economy in Scotland and the UK, i.e. call centres and software development. It sought to answer key questions relating to: work organisation, contractual status, organisational commitment, and the relationship between work and non-work life. Having identified, from earlier research, significant differences between call centres and software, the project also focused on the following questions about the sectors: what differences exist in methods of managerial control? do employees express differences in work-related attitudes? to what extent do they see themselves in collective or individualistic terms?

Main Topics:
The dataset represent data drawn from four call centres and five software firms between September 1999 and August 2001.

The first quantitative data file contains responses to a self-report questionnaire distributed to call centre and software employees, the second represents a different sample of software employees and their self-report responses to a one-week work diary and teamwork questionnaire.

The remaining qualitative data files represent employee answers, researcher notes and transcriptions from various methods of data collection: (a) responses from open-ended questions in the employee attitude questionnaire; (b) work observation; (c) exploratory interviews with key informants (managers, supervisors, trade union representatives, call centre operators, software developers); (d) observation of management meetings; (e) semi-structured in-depth workplace interviews and (f) semi-structured in-depth home or community-based interviews. Information collected from the four call centres, are represented by the letters E, H, M and T. Information collected from the five software development companies are represented by the letters Beta, Gamma, Lamda, Omega and Pi. A header identifies each type of qualitative data contained in the data files. The header includes a descriptive name, identifying the case study, date and researcher, the type of data, and the location from which it was collected.
Date made available2 Jun 2004
PublisherUK Data Service
Temporal coverage1999 - 2001
Date of data production1999 - 2001
Geographical coverageCentral Scotland

Funder and Grant Reference number

  • Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)
  • L212252006

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