Out of Sight, but Not Out of Mind: When and Why



Despite the importance of telecommuting in the post-Covid-19 new way of working, there is no agreement on how it affects work relationships. The dominant theoretical perspective assumes that physical distance negatively impacts work interactions, while other perspectives argue that digital technology promotes them. However, meta-analytical results suggest that the effect of telecommuting on work relationships is overall zero. With this study, we aim to create consensus around these theoretical perspectives and explain previously mixed findings. By integrating an agentic perspective with these structural perspectives that view telecommuters as passive, we show when and why telecommuting reduces or fosters work relationships. Using a quasi-experimental study during the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, we demonstrate that telecommuting motivated employees to actively prevent a loss of work relationships by engaging in more interpersonal organizational citizenship behaviors (OCBs) when organizational identification was high but led to a loss of work relationships when organizational identification was low. Furthermore, we show that these effects were stronger for retaining existing work relationships than forming new ones. Finally, these effects differed across between-person and within-person levels. We discuss the implications of our findings for theorizing and management.

This seminar will take place in T10-67. To join online, find the details below:

Meeting ID: 988 1408 0180