The ups and downs of working in telesales: An analysis of the development of prosodic style in a Scottish call centre

Orr, Susan Elizabeth (2007) The ups and downs of working in telesales: An analysis of the development of prosodic style in a Scottish call centre. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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This study examines the prosodic style of workers in a Scottish outbound call centre during telesales call openings. I describe the conversational structure and accompanying intonational patterns of a corpus of scripted call centre telephone openings, and investigate if this provides evidence to suggest the emergence of patterns of prosodic style or 'tone of voice' used by workers in the call centre during telephone sales encounters. I investigate how and why workers come to adopt ways of speaking via data collected during long-term ethnographic fieldwork in the call centre, paying particular attention to the training and prescriptive processes to which new employees are exposed. Examination of the classroom training period and other methods put in place by the call centre, such as scripting and managerial surveillance, reveals that prosodic style is not overtly prescribed in the same way as other aspects of the agents' linguistic performance. It emerges that the on-the-job period of training known as 'nesting' is where most managerial prescription of style takes place, at a point when workers are making the transition from apprentice to expert via increasing participation in local practices. It is during this transitional phase of apprenticeship that individual speakers begin construction of a new, activity-based persona, of which their prosodic style is a defining part.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Additional Information: Adviser: Jane Stuart-Smith
Keywords: Linguistics, Modern language
Date of Award: 2007
Depositing User: Enlighten Team
Unique ID: glathesis:2007-74024
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 23 Sep 2019 15:33
Last Modified: 23 Sep 2019 15:33

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