Title

Telecommuting optimization: An investigation of influential factors during technology-reliant interactions

Date of Completion

January 2001

Keywords

Business Administration, Management|Psychology, Industrial

Degree

Ph.D.

Abstract

Rapid technological advances have enabled telecommuting to grow as a widely accepted work practice. Yet despite its increasing popularity, scholars have been slow to investigate this type of technology-enabled interaction in part because of the lack of a solid theoretical understanding. This study develops and tests a theoretically derived model that suggests a curvilinear relationship between the extent of telecommuting and work outcomes. Furthermore, it suggests this relationship is impacted by both mediating and moderating components that stem from the nature of the telecommuters relational and work influences. Data from 351 electronic surveys was analyzed using stepwise hierarchical regression to test the proposed model. As predicted, a curvilinear relationship was found between the extent of telecommuting and job satisfaction. Satisfaction initially increased at lower levels of telecommuting, but then decreased as higher levels of telecommuting were practiced. This relationship was mediated by the exchange quality between the telecommuter and his or her manager, whereby more extensive telecommuting was associated with decreased relational quality. Additionally, it was found that work family conflict mediated the relationship between telecommuting and job satisfaction, and that more extensive telecommuting was associated with increased work family conflict. Task interdependence and individual autonomy were found to act as moderators of the relationship between telecommuting and job satisfaction, in which those with higher task interdependence or higher autonomy experienced increased levels of job satisfaction. There was no evidence to support a direct relationship between telecommuting and job performance, although an indirect effect through exchange quality was found. Taken together, results suggest that telecommuting and other technology-enabled interactions offer distinct benefits, however boundaries need to be set in order to maximize work outcomes. ^