Telework Paradoxes and Practices: The Importance of the Nature of Work
18 Pages Posted: 14 Jul 2016
Date Written: July 2016
Research on telework often focuses on the outcomes of telework, investigating if telework is ultimately a ‘good’ or a ‘bad’ thing for teleworkers and their organisations. However, findings across telework research studies are often inconclusive, requiring deeper engagement with potential explanations for contradictory and paradoxical results. This study uses virtual ethnography (netnography) to investigate naturally occurring data. By analysing online debates related to Yahoo!’s decision to ban telework for its employees, this study surfaces aspects currently overlooked by telework research. These findings suggest that the diversity of the nature of work undertaken by knowledge workers and perceived differences in the suitability of different tasks for telework are of critical importance for understanding telework from a practice perspective. However, deeper engagement with the different kinds of work activities of knowledge workers is currently missing in the telework research literature. This study therefore contributes to better understanding of telework and paradoxical findings in telework research.
Keywords: telework, telecommuting, telework paradoxes, nature of work, virtual ethnography, netnography, Yahoo!, work activities.
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