In the globalized job market of today, businesses are increasingly turning to call service centers located abroad to provide customer support. This project concerns Swedish call centers that have been outsourced from Sweden, either to Moldavia or Estonia. The aim is to investigate how telephone calls in Swedish can be managed by these call centers, where the operators have been trained in Swedish at an intensive course, provided by the company. The approach is to compare telephone calls of a similar kind received at a call centre in Sweden. We intend to examine communicative dilemmas in the interaction of the telephone operator who speaks Swedish as a second language versus the caller from Sweden.
What communicative obstacles, for example misunderstandings and miscommunication, can be
identified? How do the participants act in solving interactive problems? What kind of communicative
resources are employed to reach mutual understanding?
We are also interested in questions concerning identities and the ways identities and language skills are negotiated in interaction. What expectations do the callers convey and in what ways are conversations influenced by these expectations? In what ways are identities negotiated during the talks?
Theoretically, the study has a dialogical framework. The methods used are ethnomethodology and
conversation analysis. Another relevant framework for the project is the international and national
research about talk in institutional settings. A number of empirical studies on telephone interaction are
We will analyze recordings of the conversations from a micro perspective using conversation analysis
(CA). Ethnographic data and interviews from Sweden and Estonia or Moldavia will also be used as data.
The research proposal has a link to the fields identified by Östersjöstiftelsen, Cultural Technologies and Cultural Public Spheres.