Calling for call centres : a study of call centre locations in a Swedish rural region

University dissertation from Linköping : Linköpings universitet

Abstract: The business economy is undergoing structural changes as we are moving towards more information based businesses. Most studies of industrial location have however focused on manufacturing activities and there is a lack in knowledge of the exact determinants for the location of information based and geographically independent activities. Traditional locational theories have to be complemented with factors that consider these types of businesses. A focus on information based and geographically independent organisations, such as call centres, has a potential to fuel research into industrial location.The general aim of this thesis is, from a business perspective, to explore and identify a number of factors that are of importance for call centre locations in a specific region. More specifically, the thesis deals with the fact that development and use of information and communication technology, organisational prerequisites in form of changed organisational structures and management of organisations and also more individually related aspects nowadays seem to play an important role for both how business are organised and for where they are located. The thesis is mainly based on a case study of a Swedish rural region that has been successful in its efforts to attract and develop call centre activities.First, it is shown that the call centre concept is full of nuance and researchers as well as practitioners use the concept differently. In order to enhance and balance discussions about call centres and also facilitate the process of comparing research findings, ten characteristics that are regarded as useful for discriminating among call centre activities are presented. Second, the importance of distinguishing location choices for information based business from location choices for more traditional service business and manufacturing businesses is an important finding and examples that support this are given. A third finding is that even though call centres are often regarded as geographically independent, the proximity that can be offered with cluster formations seems to be of importance also for this type of businesses. It is however more about horizontal integration and not about vertical integration, which is often present for manufacturing businesses. Finally, call centres seem to offer opportunities for regions and localities that wish to create work opportunities and achieve a positive regional development and this applies especially to rural or peripheral areas. However, in order to be successful there are many interacting factors that have to be considered and dealt with and it is important to notice that it often takes time to build up a positive climate for call centre businesses in a region, i.e. different regional actors can and have to do much more than just call for call centres.

  This dissertation MIGHT be available in PDF-format. Check this page to see if it is available for download.