‘Delhi Belly’: coping with toxicity and immunizing identities in Indian call centres (SoMWP–0904)

Shuchi Sinha, Yiannis Gabriel

Research output: Working paper

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This paper contributes to the current debates around call centre work by focusing on the processes of identity construction, activation and maintenance adopted by call centre employees. In particular, it highlights how the efforts towards organized and standardized interactions at the workplace, notably between employees and customers, as well as between workers and supervisors, nurture a rich breeding ground for ‘disorganized identity work’. In this paper, we make use of the concept of ‘toxicity’ (Stein, 2007) to understand the occurrence of ‘disorganized identity work’, examining how the various actors (co)contract and construct toxicity and then cope with it. In building this argument, the paper introduces and explores two alternative coping techniques adopted by the victimized individual, ‘immunization through stereotyping’ and ‘detoxification through transfer’.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherThe School of Management, Royal Holloway University of London
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2008


  • Call centres
  • identity
  • disorganized identity work
  • stereotypes
  • immunization

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