Call centers come in a variety of types and sizes that range from very small teams to large, complex enterprises. Although the considerable range of call center operations calls for constant redesign, call centers typically fall into one of three organizational structures.


In an article for The Call Center School, call center analyst Maggie Klenke notes that many call centers fall into bureaucratic, top-down structures with mechanized processes designed for optimum control. Klenke also observes that some call centers fall into more modern horizontal structures, and some employ a self-managed team structure. Most centers, according to "Call Center" Magazine, also centralize common resources like payroll, purchasing and human resources departments.


In a call center, a top-down bureaucratic and mechanized structure allows for maximum control of employees performing repetitious tasks. A horizontal or self-managed team structure, in contrast, gives employees flexibility to create new processes and new approaches to handling customer calls.


Although many call centers currently use a centralized bureaucratic, horizontal or self-managed team organizational structure, "Call Center" Magazine notes that centers must constantly reassess their designs and change to meet business requirements. In addition, "Call Center" Magazine points out that these changes may mean that organizational structures vary from call center to call center.