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System, society and dominance effects in the adoption of tele-health: A tri-country comparison

Journal article
Authors Bob Russell
Chris Smith
Raffaella Valsecchi
Monica Andersson Bäck
Published in Economic and Industrial Democracy
Volume 38
Issue 3
Pages 425-447
ISSN 0143-831X
Publication year 2017
Published at Department of Social Work
Pages 425-447
Language en
Keywords e-health, professional call centres, system, society and dominance (SSD) analysis, tele-nursing, labour process, new public management (NPM), Sweden, United Kingdom, Australia
Subject categories Health Care Service and Management, Health Policy and Services and Health Economy, Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology), Social Work, Work Sciences


Although there have been many studies of low skilled call centre operators, research on professional workers in call centres is less common and cross-national research on such operations even rarer. This article compares the labour process experiences of tele-nurses – registered nurses in call centre settings – across three countries: the UK, Australia and Sweden. Using cross-national, comparative ethnographies, through a system, society and dominance (SSD) approach, the article explores the common problems tele-nurses face as well as distinctive societal differences in the ways in which this branch of e-health care is being established. The outcomes reveal both societal diversity and mounting pressures towards a globalizing conformity between the three countries with regard to the working practices of tele-nursing. The findings have important implications for whether or not a professional project can be developed around tele-health care.

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