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Keywords:

  • call centres;
  • electronic surveillance;
  • peer surveillance;
  • informating;
  • management control;
  • teamworking;
  • labour process

This paper analyses a form of electronic surveillance in a call centre that was not automatically performed through or by information and communication technology but required the active involvement of peers to provide feedback on each other's work by using an online reporting tool. Increased surveillance led to a tightening of control over certain aspects of work as advisors modified their call-handling practices. But surveillance was simultaneously undermined by technical and bureaucratic control linked to existing information systems, which affected the ability and availability of peers to perform monitoring. Electronic peer surveillance was also unable to provide objective information or unobtrusive control as performing and evaluating surveillance became a highly political and contested process. Various forms of resistance arose, which were not always directed at management, but were instead manifest through increased animosity between teams.