Creating value from a commodity process: a case study of a call center

Huang, Jimmy, Newell, Sue, Poulson, Brad and Galliers, Robert D. (2007) Creating value from a commodity process: a case study of a call center. Journal of Enterprise Information Management, 20 (4). pp. 396-413. ISSN 1741-0398

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Abstract

Purpose
– The purpose of this paper is to conceptualize the unique value that can be created by performing a commodity process, in this case call handling at a call center, as a means of challenging the prevalent assumption that an organization should differentiate between the management of a core competence and a commodity process.

Design/methodology/approach
– An inductive case study is conducted to examine the strategic planning and management of a call center in one of the largest retailers headquartered in the UK. Semi‐structured interviews, informal dialogue, on‐site observation and documentation were the four data collection methods that we used.

Findings
– Based on the findings derived from the study, this study proposes the notion of a “differentiated commodity” to illustrate that a commodity process, such as handling customers' complaints and enquiries using standard call center technologies, can be significantly beneficial to the business, if differentiation was embedded into the architecture and management of the business process.

Originality/value
– The distinction between core competencies and commodity processes has become one of the key aspects in shaping a manager's decision making. The findings are vital not only in challenging such an assumption, but also in providing an explanation as to how strategic value can be generated by performing commodity processes, which is often under‐estimated.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Business, Management and Economics > Business and Management
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HF Commerce > HF5001 Business
Depositing User: Catrina Hey
Date Deposited: 24 Oct 2014 15:10
Last Modified: 24 Oct 2014 15:10
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/50724
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