Meta-analytical results suggest a zero relationship between telecommuting and work relationships. However, non-findings do not mean that there are no effects but that there may be undiscovered moderators that sometimes lead to positive and sometimes negative effects of telecommuting on work relationships. The goal of this study is to test when telecommuting will have negative effects and when it will have positive effects on work relationships. In our study, we diverge from the dominant logic of telecommuting research to assume that physical distance has detrimental effects on work relationships. Instead, we assume that depending on the level of organizational identification, telecommuting can sometimes motivate employees to actively prevent a loss of work ties by engaging in more interpersonal OCB and other times lead to a loss of work ties. The findings of a longitudinal field study support this idea. The results also support our argument that it is important to account for the different dynamics between work tie retention and work tie creation. Finally, we find that while the effects of telecommuting were predominantly negative in the short-run (within-level), they could either be positive or negative in the long-run (between-level).
Prof. Christian Tröster is Associate Professor of Leadership and Organizational Behavior at the KLU. A sociologist by trade, he received his PhD with a focus on organizational behavior from the Rotterdam School of Management (Erasmus University) (NL). His current research focuses on leadership, social comparisons, and social networks in organizations.
Prof. Dr. Prisca Brosi is Associate Professor of Human Resource Management at the KLU. She studied industrial engineering at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT). Having finished her studies with a diploma in 2006, she worked for three years as a consultant for the Boston Consulting Group. Dr. Brosi did her Doctorate in 2012 directly followed by her Habilitation studies at the Technical University Munich. During this time, she has been a visiting researcher at the Hong Kong Polytechnical University and the New York University.