Symbolic Men and Respectable Women

The presence of men presented different planes of trust and witnessed presences involved in the transport arrangements of women agents of call center during night hours. However, these arrangements can also be analysed in the backdrop of Nevejan’s YUTPA framework (for details, Nevejan, 2009). In the context of night travel of call center industry the witnessed presence is crucial both for the people within the cab and outside the cab.

To begin with, the initial phase of call center sector required the transportation facility to witness the presence of the masculine space on the road. Here the organization’s cab witnessed the people on road and secured call center agents from potential dangers. Apart from mitigating the risk involved during night hours travel, the cab has created a reputation for women agents because the families and neighbours of the women agents were ensured that the night travel of women has been witnessed by the organization, as the cab is an extension of the organization.
However, the case of rape and murder of call center agents by the cab driver has raised a demand for witness within the cab. This is in contrast to the earlier phase where the cab itself served as a witness. The measures adopted by the organizations, security guard within the cab and presence of a male colleagues are to witness the action of others involved during the travel time, either inside the cab or outside the cab.

Now we will see how these measures adopted by the call center organization to ensure the safe travel to women agents, can be analyzed within the YUTPA framework. The transport arrangement for the call center agents involve different types of technology at different levels, like, cab (to shuttle employee between workplace and home, mobile phone (to eliminate the waiting time on road), wireless communication between cab and employer (to track the movement of the cab). Through all these technologies the organization has mediated the presence and interaction with the agents. As per the time, place, action and relation dimension of the YUTPA configuration, the organization though not with the agents - present there physically in time and place and action, but it has deployed technologies to have witnessed presence of people involved during the travel.

Apart from the technologies, the physical presence of the people from the organization like the security guard, and other male colleagues are the physical representations of the organization that develop trust among the parents and the neighbors of the agents. This gives the whole system of night travel for the night shifts of call centers, a cultural and social sanction of respectability. In this context the organization ensures the witnessed presence of people in night hours through either technological measures or through the representatives of organization or through both. These types of mediated presences create a specific configuration of time, space, action and relation in the transportation process which determine trust and truth in the context of the night time travel.

Shelly Tara , Vignesh Ilavarasan