"You're not going anywhere" Employee Retention, Symbolic Violence and the Experience of Participation and the Structuring of Subordination in a UK-based Call Centre

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Brannan, MJ (2015)

This article explores practices that produce and reproduce domination in and through organizational hierarchies and shows how high levels of employee turnover were managed within a UK-based call centre through the use of culturally bound employment practices. Using ethnographic methods the paper explores the experience of managerial retention strategies from the perspective of employees and draws upon some of the theoretical resources employed by Pierre Bourdieu, specifically in relation to his concern with structures of subordination, and with the ways that processes of symbolic violence appear legitimate. The paper therefore makes three contributions to our understanding of the sociology of work generally and the management of labour turnover in service industries specifically; first, it extends understanding of the cultural basis of retention strategies. Second, it explores the ‘lived experience’ of these strategies. Finally, it considers the relevance of Bourdieu's analysis for making sense of these practices in action.
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