Identities on call: Impact of impression management on Indian call center agents

Sumita Raghuram

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

20 Scopus citations

Abstract

Call center agents located in India present themselves at work in a manner that stands in stark contrast to their non-work identities. The impression management tactics they use include using Western names, foreign accents, and scripts that convey physical proximity to customers. This study examines the cognitive demands placed on call center agents as they manage such impressions. The data show that the cultural differences between customers and agents and the use of a telephone as a communication medium intensified demands on agents. In coping with these demands, the agents reassessed their work and non-work identities. At one end of the continuum, some of the call center agents segmented their non-work identities from their work identities. At the other end, call center agents chose to experiment with and incorporate parts of their work identities into their non-work identities, thereby creating hybrid identities. This article discusses implications of these findings for impression management and identity exploration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1471-1496
Number of pages26
JournalHuman Relations
Volume66
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Social Sciences(all)
  • Strategy and Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation

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