CEC Theses and Dissertations

Title

A Study of the Attitudes of Management and Employees Toward Telecommuting

Date of Award

1999

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Graduate School of Computer and Information Sciences

Advisor

Steven R. Terrell

Committee Member

Laurie Dringus

Committee Member

Frank L. Nickels

Abstract

Telecommuting has been lauded as increasing productivity, reducing companies' costs, improving employee retention and recruitment, improving employee morale and various other benefits. Telecommuting has also been lamented about management's loss of control, increased management workload and the difficulty of implementation. After weighing both pros and cons, telecommuting seemingly has more benefits than drawbacks. Yet, it is curious that organizations are slow to adopt it.

This study investigated the attitudes of 177 employees and 119 managers toward telecommuting. All of the respondents were employed in the information technology field, had access to, and worked with personal computers in their job. Questionnaires, based on the Duxbury et al. (1987) study, were sent to 200 managers and 400 employees and 296 were returned for a return rate of 49%. This study investigated four areas of telecommuting - the benefits of telecommuting, the drawbacks of telecommuting specific to management and control, the drawbacks of telecommuting career-related, and the drawbacks of telecommuting related to one's personal life.

The results indicate that today's employees and managers differ on their perception of the management and control of telecommuters. Specifically, they differ on the variables of a change to organizational management style, the trust and the difficultly of managing telecommuters. This finding is in sharp contrast to the Duxbury et al. (1987) study.

The results also indicate that employees and managers have a similar perception toward the benefits of telecommuting. This finding is also in sharp contrast to the Duxbury et al. (1987) study, which found differences in the benefit variables of improved quality of work life, lower job-related stress and increased productivity.

Lastly, the results indicate that employees and managers remain concerned about career related aspects of telecommuting and are less concerned about the impact on one's family life. These finding are consistent with the Duxbury et al. (1987) study. The results of this study provide a comparison between employees working in the information technology field and employees working in general industry of a decade ago and provide a framework for future studies.

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