ERIC Number: ED418275
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1995
Social Connectivity in the Mobile Workplace. Workscape 21: The Ecology of New Ways of Working.
Becker, Franklin; Tennessen, Carolyn M.
A study examined the social implications of a workplace strategy in which employees who previously worked together in a main office became virtual office workers. The study site was a Digital Equipment Corporation flexible work program implemented at its Newmarket, England, office, where a large traditional office was closed and its employees became mobile workers. Thirteen employees representing all job types--consultants, customer service, and sales personnel--were interviewed. Findings indicated the new mobile work pattern was successful from an organizational perspective, but the response was more mixed in terms of individual employees' reactions. Mobile workers developed a new appreciation for face-to-face contacts. Unplanned interactions involved intense sharing and catching up. Informal socialization declined significantly. Different types of socialization occurred in different locations. Cross-functional and brainstorming communications were primarily handled face to face and were less common. The telecenter support staff, as the only permanent staff, became the informal social directors of the organization. Coping strategies included turning to the community and the development of new community-oriented hobbies and activities. Service employees and systems integration consultants who had busy work schedules at client sites seemed least concerned about the social changes in the workscape. Salespeople's' reactions were mixed. The technical consultants who had worked closely together had a difficult time adjusting. (Contains 65 references.) (YLB)
Descriptors: Adult Education, Collegiality, Cooperation, Interpersonal Relationship, Mobility, Organizational Change, Organizational Communication, Organizational Development, Peer Relationship, Professional Isolation, Socialization, Work Environment
International Workplace Studies Program, E-213 MVR Hall, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853 ($30).
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: State Univ. of New York, Ithaca. Coll. of Human Ecology at Cornell Univ.