Globalization and the theater of work: Exploring identity dynamics in Indian international call centers

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Business Administration


India, Offshoring, Hybridity, Dramaturgy, Call centers, Globalization

Subject Categories

Business | Business Administration, Management, and Operations


The process of contemporary globalization is engendering new forms of identity dynamics in different parts of the world. These changes cannot be fully understood by the existing frameworks of identity theories in organization studies. One such context is the Indian international call center industry where the employees need to adopt a different cultural identity at work and enact it to ensure smooth customer interactions. To understand the identity dynamics in this context, I would like to raise three questions: (1) how do the organizations manage such identity enactments by their employees? (2) how do the employees make sense of such everyday enactments? and (3) what kinds of identity get produced out of such continuous experiences of enacting 'other' cultures? To answer these broad research questions, I employ several different theories from organization studies, sociology and humanities, such as dramaturgy (Goffman, 1959), simulation (Baudrillard, 1991), identity theory (Ashforth, 2001), sensemaking (Weick, 1995) and postcolonial theory of hybridity (Bhabha, 1994). I also conducted an in-depth qualitative study with ethnographic observations for over 5 months and more than 120 interviews. The findings from such extensive data collection provide very interesting trends that both confirm and extend extant theories of organizational identities within organization studies.


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