We lack a compelling account of the post-Fordist labor process. When firms can no longer provide secure jobs at good pay, how do they motivate workers? Rather than a return to despotism, this ethnography of call center work documents a novel system of indirect control. New employees are rushed onto the production floor, where their lack of preparation discomfits them and motivates them to play an autonomous learning game. Although initially generative of effort, the game is difficult to master and offers few rewards for sustained participation. Intense effort and high attrition coexist, a management system that the author labels permanent pedagogy.
- call centers
- labor process
- service work
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sociology and Political Science
- Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management