Cette recherche analyse l'influence de deux formes d'appui, l'appui affectif et l'appui instrumental, provenant de trois sources d'appui en milieu organisationnel — celui offert par le supérieur hiérarchique, les collègues et les dirigeants d'entreprise — sur le succès en télétravail. Les données ont été recueillies par questionnaire auprès de 193 employés qui télétravaillent depuis au moins six mois au sein de trois organisations ayant un programme de télétravail. En général, les résultats confirment que plus les télétravailleurs estiment recevoir certaines formes d'appui de leur supérieur hiérarchique et des dirigeants de leur entreprise, plus ils évaluent favorablement certains indicateurs de succès en télétravail. Les résultats peuvent servir de référence aux dirigeants d'entreprise et aux gestionnaires qui souhaitent implanter ou améliorer l'efficacité d'un programme de télétravail à domicile.
Teleworking from home may be an emerging trend in work organization, but authors have overestimated its popularity. In fact some studies show that, with its inconvenient aspects for both employees and employers, teleworking is not a panacea. In some cases the arrangement falls or only partially succeeds. Success in implementing a teleworking program is not guaranteed and relies on certain conditions. In view of the emergence of teleworking and the resistance to change it engenders, it is important to better understand the conditions that lead to a successful telework experience.
This study focuses on a specific condition for success, namely the organizational support offered to home teleworkers. This is an important prerequisite over which an organization's leaders exercise a certain degree of control. More specifically, this study will attempt to answer the following question : To what extent do three sources of organizational support — that of telesupervisors, colleagues and senior executives — influence home teleworking success? Although the support provided to teleworkers is often considered a determinant of telework success, it has not been fully investigated. The few studies that do exist on the subject were conducted years ago, included only a small number of teleworkers, and explored the impact of personal characteristics and working conditions on a teleworker's attitudes and performance. To our knowledge, the present study is the fïrst to analyze the relationship between organizational support and the success of home teleworking. More specifically, we will analyze two forms of organizational support offered by various agents — emotional and instrumental support. Emotional support is expressed by sympathy and openness to the teleworker, while instrumental or hands-on support directly helps an employee meet work objectives. To our knowledge, this study is the first to propose and test a typology involving forms of support (emotional and instrumental), and to analyze their impact on home teleworking success.
A questionnaire was distributed in three companies with home teleworking arrangements. The teleworking coordinator distributed the questionnaire to all employees who had been teleworking for at least six months. Most of the 193 respondents who returned the questionnaire are clerical workers (47%) or professionals (36%). On average, the respondents have 16 years of seniority within their organization, 8 years in their current position, and 3 years as teleworkers. They telecommute an average of 21 hours per week, and spend 13 hours at the company. Their average age is 42 years old. Slightly over half of respondents are women (56%), live with a partner (55%), and have children (56%). In terms of educational profile, 16% of respondents have a high school diploma, 25% a college diploma, 48% a bachelor's degree, and 11% a graduate or postgraduate degree.
The "teleworking success" concept was measured with retrospective questions on 13 success indicators including job performance, work volume, feelings of belonging, advancement possibilities and job creativity. A factorial analysis (with Varimax rotation) generated three interpretable factors (eigenvalues above 1). Together, these three factors accounted for 65% of the scale variance. After dropping ambiguous scale items, those three factors were : Job performance (4 items, alpha = .85), quality of life (4 items, alpha = .81) and job commitment (3 items, alpha = .79). The strongest teleworking success factor was undoubtedly job performance since it explained 46% of the scale variance, compared with about 10% for each of the two other factors. The fourth teleworking success variable was satisfaction with teleworking which was assessed with three indicators : satisfaction with working at home, the home work environment, and the respondent's participation in the teleworking program.
The support offered by three categories of key agents—telesupervisors, colleagues and senior executives—was assessed on a series of statements from our literature review. Each statement is associated with a 5-point Likert scale with values ranging from (1) rarely to (5) often. A factor analysis of the statements confirms that all types of support can be grouped into the emotional and instrumental forms of support. The factor analysis conducted on the supervisor support scale items generated four distinct factors that can in essence be sorted as follows under the emotional and instrumental headings : (1) The coordination and follow-up of the teleworker's tasks (instrumental support, 8 items, alpha = .81); (2) acceptance of telework as a legitimate work arrangement (emotional support, 5 items, alpha = .75); (3) performance planning (instrumental support, 2 items, alpha = .84) and (4) higher performance expectations (emotional support, 2 items, alpha = .70). Together, those four dimensions of supervisor support contribute 54 % of the scale variance. The factor analysis conducted on the colleague support scale items generated two factors that fit under the emotional and instrumental headings: (1) the coordination and follow-up of the teleworker's tasks (instrumental support, 4 items, alpha = .74) and (2) equal treatment of teleworkers (emotional support, 3 items, alpha = .61). A final factor analysis was conducted on the top management support scale items. Again two factors consistent with the emotional and instrumental support headings were retained : (1) the acceptance of telework as a legitimate work arrangement (emotional support, 4 items, alpha = .75) and (2) technical support (instrumental support, 2 items, alpha = .61).
The results of our study generally confirm the importance of the instrumental support offered by telesupervisors (coordinating teleworkers' work and elaborating clear and specific job objectives) and by senior executives (giving appropriate equipment and specialized staff to repair them) on teleworking success. Results also confirm that the support of supervisors has a relatively greater influence on teleworking performance, which is the most important aspect of teleworking success (explaining 54% of the scale variance). It also appears that the emotional support offered by senior executives, that is their openness to telework, has a significant influence on job commitment. This study's results do not confirm a link between any forms of colleague support, either emotional or instrumental, on various indicators of teleworking success.
These results may serve as a reference to companies and managers who wish to implement or improve the effectiveness of home-based teleworking. They demonstrate how different forms of support from various sources influence teleworking success, a concept that includes job performance, job commitment, quality of life, and satisfaction, all of which are variables that have a major impact on organizational performance.
Esta investigacion analiza dos formas de apoyo, el afectivo y el instrumental, brindado por très fuentes de apoyo al interior de la organizacion, o sea el apoyo del superior jerarquico, el apoyo de los colegas y aquel de los dirigentes de la empresa, y la influencia que dichas formas de apoyo pueden ejercer sobre el exito del tele-trabajo. Los datos son recopilados por cuestionario administrado a 193 empleados que laboran desde al menos seis meses, en très organizaciones diferentes que ofrecen el programa de tele-trabajo. En general, los resultados confirman que cuanto mas los tele-trabajadores consideran que reciben cierta forma de apoyo de sus superiores jerarquicos y de los dirigentes de la empresa, mas ellos evaluan favorablemente ciertos indicadores de exito respecto al tele-trabajo. Los resultados pueden servir de referencia a los dirigentes de empresa y responsables de gestion que desean implantar o mejorar la eficacia de un programa de tele-trabajo a domicilie
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