BPO Call Centres: Psychosocial Issues and Related Ethical Conundrums


BPO is one of the fastest growing segments of the Information Technology Enabled Services industry in India. NASSCOM reported a faster than ever growth in the BPO industry in the country. Even as the industry grows at a breakneck pace over of 50 per cent per annum in terms of job creation, sucking in thousands of young, barely-educated workers from all over the country, it is spawning socio-psychological and ergonomic problems on an unprecedented scale. One obvious consequence was an excessive onset of consumerism. There are the complex issues of identity construction, as Indians navigate the tensions between their culture and the requirements of service provision for western customers, including practices such as locational masking, adopting pseudonyms and accent neutralization. There is also a nearly all pervading sense of shame and shyness in identifying themselves with Indian tradition and culture. Young folk, all of 18-19 aspire to get a BPO job. Truncating education at the Pre-university level is an option today. Sexual promiscuity is fast becoming a norm. The very nature of work has resulted in employee burnout and other stress-related disorders. Despite all this evidence, BPO administrations are aversive to employing counselors on board to provide for support to distressed employees. The aim of this paper therefore is to bring into fore certain dilemmas faced by employees of BPO call centres in India and to identify adverse impacts of the work culture, which tend to result in a psychological disorientation in the short term and distress in the long run. This paper also advocates active and on-site psychosocial support systems to the employees of these concerns. Key words: BPOs, psychological distress, call centres.


BPOs call centres psychological distress india