Peer pressure in call centre employees

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Peer pressure can be defined as the influence of a particular group with whom one socializes. It is more commonly seen in the young generation than in the elderly. Youngsters conform to what others in the group are doing because they think that it is the “in thing.”

In recent years call centre jobs have become plenty and more or less easily available. These units hire fresh graduates or even those who are in high school. Some of them come from rich families of metro cities while others from small towns with not much exposure. Fresh out of college they are a mixed bunch of meek, innocent bookworms and aggressive individuals. The groups formed out of them at the workplace are therefore not homogenous. They emulate each others’ habits and manners even if they are not comfortable with it.

A manager working in a call centre says, “Call centre executives fall prey to peer pressure easily. They join work at a young age and get handsome remuneration at their individual disposal for the first time in their lives. Moreover, they are a stressed lot with night shifts, repetitive work and deadlines to keep up with. In order to come out of it they visit nightclubs and indulge in smoking, drugs or alcohol. If someone in a team is addicted most of the others follow so that they are liked by the rest of the members. They find it difficult to resist the temptation and keep away from these negative elements.”

Peer pressure can be extremely strong and may ruin one’s life. A psychiatrist explains, “Call centre executives being young are not matured enough. They earn a lot and have no control on their buying behavior. They see their friends wearing branded clothes or using expensive cell phones and want the same for themselves. Even if they have some personal obligations they ignore the needs of their family to take a hefty loan and buy a new car. They resort to this unacceptable behavior just to show off and be at par with their friends.”

“Keep yourself away from negative influences” is a phrase that is perhaps easier said than done. However an employee who recently joined a call centre advises, “Even if everyone else is doing it do not inculcate these bad habits if you personally dislike them. Remember your friends may ridicule you today for being the odd one out but you will be benefited in the long run. Engage yourself in constructive activities. Choose your friends carefully and be around those who share your principles and values.”

It is sad but true that many call centre employees are victims of peer pressure. A general awareness and counseling sessions by experts are some measures that can be arranged by employers to reduce this growing problem, if not totally eliminate it.


- Ranjita Chattopadhyay (views expressed in the article are that of the author)


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