Sustainable Development in the Call Centre Industry

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1 SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IN THE CALL CENTRE INDUSTRY
CASE STUDY OF OFFSHORING BOOM IN MANIZALES, COLOMBIA

ANDRES FRANCO MORALES MASTER IN MANAGEMENT SCIENCE VRIJE UNIVERSITEIT BRUSSEL afrancom@vub.ac.be

January, 2012.

ABSTRACT In order to learn about the sustainability of the current call centres expansion in Manizales, considering the growth and development it might bring to the working labour there; a literature research has been undertaken. Firstly, a retrospect of the constitutional reform process is presented, endorsed by theoretical arguments supporting such initiative. Secondly, a theoretical research of the dynamics in the call centre industry is analyzed in contrast with the call centre scenario in Manizales. It is found that the approach given by the firms to the exceptional conditions in Manizales to settle new call centres is not sustainable, therefore the author propose three attempts to ameliorate the situation. They are implementation of corporate social responsibility clauses; flourishing the working labour with training and development of green technologies.

JEL classification: J81, K31, Q01. Key words: Constitution of Colombia, reform, working labour, call centre, sustainability.

2 Contents

Introduction ......................................................................................................................................... 3 Constitutional reforms and Substantive Labour Code reforms ........................................................... 4 The Offshore Outsourcing in Manizales, Colombia ........................................................................... 9 Sustainable Development in the Offshoring Outsourcing Business.................................................. 12 References ......................................................................................................................................... 17

3 Introduction

Colombia has experienced a Constitutional reform back in 1991. On that reform, basic principal rights were settled in term of human rights. Moreover, it is a reform promulgating economical openness and liberalization, but the policies in the labour field ruling in Colombia were not coherent with a capitalist model of development. Therefore, during the 1990‟s and the 2000‟s, the country introduced several Constitutional reforms and Substantive labour code reforms aiming to make flexible the labour market. That timeline is described in the paper with some theoretical ideas backing up those reforms. Some of the beliefs are that free trade is a less-than-perfect policy; economists believe that free trade is usually better than any other policy and governments should follow it. It is because by reducing firing costs, the allocation of working labour is more efficient, and in the short term, it causes the destruction of unproductive jobs that only existed because of the high firing costs that companies had to pay.1 The reforms brought a remarkable expansion of call centres in Manizales starting in 2007, due to the fact that Manizales was declared free zone for call centres. It meant that offshoring firms settling in the city could enjoy exception on payments of tariffs on imported equipment and exception of payments of VAT as well. Other conditions were met like low wages, large supply of working labour force, and economies of scale. However, a revision of the literature presents the work in call centres like a remembrance of TaylorismFordism. A detailed description of the dynamics within call centres in Manizales permits to conclude that the firm‟s performance and the approach of the working labour as principal resource is not sustainable. Besides that, it contradicts articles in the Constitution advocating against slavery, servitude, and the slave trade in all forms. All in all, after defining sustainability, it is possible to support the idea of unsustainability in the call centres industry in Manizales. Therefore, three...
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