Telework and Social Change: How Technology Is Reshaping the Boundaries between Home and Work

Telework and Social Change: How Technology Is Reshaping the Boundaries between Home and Work

Telework and Social Change: How Technology Is Reshaping the Boundaries between Home and Work

Telework and Social Change: How Technology Is Reshaping the Boundaries between Home and Work

Synopsis

As technology comes to permeate every aspect of work, it liberates organizations and their employees from the physical boundaries of the workplace, yet amplifies many of the interpersonal and cultural challenges inherent to corporate life. Drawing from an in-depth study of two dynamic organizations, along with extensive research on technology and organizational behavior, Nicole Ellison explores the subtle and powerful ways that "distance working" influences management effectiveness, worker productivity, and such intangible elements as social cohesion and trust. Telework and Social Change provides a multi-dimensional perspective on the evolving relationships among technology, geography, and the structural and cultural aspects of work in the digital age.

Excerpt

Organizations and individuals are attracted to technology-enabled distributed work for a variety of reasons, including a challenging economic climate, the perceived need to lengthen the workday, globalization trends, and an increase in dual-career families. Individuals, especially women, are drawn to the promise of work/life balance inherent in the notion of working from home. However, the reality of mobile work is often more complicated than either the proponents or the detractors of telework would have us believe. This book explores the adoption of telework at two organizations and the ways in which individuals at these firms used technology to manage the attendant changes in their personal and professional lives.

Telework offers an excellent context in which to study the way information and communication technologies (ICTs) reshape communication patterns in the household and workplace, in part because geographically distributed workers are forced to rely more heavily on mediated communication. Although the percentage of employees who work exclusively at home is relatively small when compared to the number of traditionally structured offices, arrangements in which geographically flexible employees work from multiple locations are rapidly becoming ubiquitous in many industries. Some professions, such as sales, have long relied on heavy travel schedules, but lowered technology costs and greater broadband access have allowed untraditional work arrangements to penetrate other industries as well. Technological advances, economic pressures, and the shifting social land-scape have affected organizations in myriad ways, altering the

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