Telework's Impact on Employee Effectiveness: Is it the Time or the Place that Really Matters?
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Telework is becoming increasingly common, with more workers reporting that they telework at least some of the time. Even though the amount of research on telework is increasing, all telework arrangements are not created equal. Many recent research studies confound the flexible location aspect of telework with a flexible time component, even though flextime is not part of the original telework definition. Due to this lack of consistency in defining and therefore measuring telework, it is not clear whether the change in the working location or hours is contributing to the outcomes associated with telework. The goal of this study was to examine the relationships between flexibility in place and time, and various outcomes that are important to employee effectiveness. Specifically, the outcomes included task performance, contextual performance, and the withdrawal behaviors of presenteeism, lateness, absenteeism, and turnover intentions. Additionally, because we do not know why or when telework leads to these outcomes, research on the explanatory mechanisms underlying these relationships was conducted. Finally, a distinction was made between actual use of flexibility and perceptions of the availability of flexible work arrangements. For the current study, data were collected in online surveys from two samples of employees: an organizational sample and a snowball sample, including a total of 1,046 participants. Additionally, data regarding employee performance and absenteeism were provided by the organization. Results of this study do not support a significant relationship between flexplace or flextime and the outcomes of task or contextual performance. Of the relationships proposed with withdrawal, perceived flextime was negatively related to lateness and perceived flexplace was negatively related to turnover intentions. Additionally, some evidence was found for mediators and moderators of the relationships between flexibility and the outcomes. Specifically, autonomy mediated some of the perceived flexibility-outcome relationships and work-nonwork conflict mediated perceived flexplace-outcome relationships. Further, the wasted time dimension of work ethic moderated some of the actual flexibility-outcome relationships and perceived flextime moderated two perceived flexplace-outcome relationships. It is recommended that future research further examine these relationships, as some of the moderated relationships were not in the predicted direction and therefore difficult to interpret.
Alexander, Allison Laura (2014). Telework's Impact on Employee Effectiveness: Is it the Time or the Place that Really Matters?. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A & M University. Available electronically from