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Organizational Behavior, Third Edition by Adrienne Colella, C. Chet Miller, Michael A. Hitt

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Chapter 7. Stress And Well-Being

Exploring Behavior in Action: Striking for Stress at Verizon

The pay is good, and sales bonuses can be generous. So why did Verizon call-center service representatives go on strike for 18 days several years ago? The answer in part is excessive stress.

Verizon, a Fortune 100 telecommunications company with revenues of more than $107 billion, depends on call-center representatives to provide positive customer service. These representatives provide the service link between the company and its customers. They answer many calls each day, covering a wide range of service issues. In addition, they sell products to the customers who call (such as caller ID services and DSL high-speed Internet access). The representatives are monitored electronically and in person on such factors as courtesy, length of calls, and sales of products. They are also closely monitored for tardiness, break times, and attendance. Failure to meet strict performance standards can lead to severe penalties, such as probation, suspension, or "separation from the payroll." Finally, service representatives are required to work overtime.

Call-center representatives are well paid and can earn commissions on sales. Over the years, they have voiced few complaints about the pay associated with the job. They have, however, voiced complaints about other issues. Associates said the following a few years ago:

You are constantly monitored on everything that you do. Every call is timed ..., If you go ...

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