Does economic upgrading lead to social upgrading in contact centers? Evidence from South Africa

Mohammad Amir Anwar, Mark Graham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Business process outsourcing (BPO) is seen by the South African government as key to employment generation. BPO operations are reasonably footloose and the industry’s immense focus on workplace control and high levels of attrition means that the development potential of the BPO industry on workers in South Africa is a matter of critical concern. This article uses the global production network (GPN) framework to understand the developmental potentials of contact center jobs for workers in South Africa. The key argument is that economic upgrading among contact center firms can lead to both social upgrading and downgrading among workers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)209-226
Journal African Geographical Review
Volume38
Issue number3
Early online date14 Apr 2019
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 14 Apr 2019

Keywords

  • global production networks
  • economic upgrading
  • social upgrading and downgrading
  • contact centers
  • South Africa

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