Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Major/Program

Business Administration

First Advisor's Name

Ravi Gajendran

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Nathan J. Hiller

Second Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member

Third Advisor's Name

Hock-Peng Sin

Third Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member

Fourth Advisor's Name

Chockalingam Viswervaran

Fourth Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member

Keywords

telecommuting, job performance, leader-member exchange

Date of Defense

11-6-2020

Abstract

Prior theorizing about telecommuting has proposed the possibility of a telecommuting paradox (Gajendran & Harrison, 2007), which refers to a set of mutually incompatible consequences that telecommuting has for employees. On one hand, a key theme in managerial and scholarly writings on telecommuting is that it provides employees with greater flexibility and discretion over where, when, and how work is completed. According to this view, telecommuting leads to greater autonomy and this in turn is linked to beneficial outcomes including greater job satisfaction, intentions to stay, and better job performance. On the other hand, some researchers and the popular press have proposed that telecommuting is associated with social and professional isolation which are known to be negatively related to outcomes such as job satisfaction and job performance. Considered simultaneously, these theorized paths hint at a telecommuting paradox wherein telecommuting is theorized to lead to upsides on key employee outcomes via autonomy while simultaneously leading to downsides via isolation on the same set of outcomes. Nonetheless, research thus far has not examined the simultaneous existence of these countervailing pathways nor has any attention been devoted to understanding ways of resolving this paradox. Therefore, a key contribution of this dissertation is to integrate these hitherto distinct themes by developing and testing a unified theoretical model that seeks to explain these seemingly paradoxical effects by drawing on self-determination theory. A second contribution of this dissertation is to help resolve the telecommuting paradox by proposing leader-member exchange (LMX) as a lever to do so. Specifically, I propose that high-quality LMX relationships between leaders and telecommuters serve as an important boundary condition capable of not only enhancing the beneficial aspects of telecommuting, but also, diminishing the negative aspects. Data were collected during the 2020 COVID-19 global pandemic from 191 supervisor-subordinate pairs in India; subordinates were expected to be telecommuting full-time during the pandemic. Results reveal minimal support for the hypothesized theoretical model, however, this is likely impacted by the context in which the data were collected. Overall, this dissertation sheds light on the relationship between telecommuting intensity and key aspects of job performance, as well as the critical role that leaders can play in enhancing telecommuter productivity.

Identifier

FIDC009221

Available for download on Saturday, October 22, 2022

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