This paper aims to serve as a reminder that all work arrangements, including the present case of distributed work, have their costs and benefits.
In addition to a literature review, the paper presents empirical evidence from two case organizations in the field of technology industries and knowledge‐intensive business services.
In contrast to common assertions in the theoretical literature, distributed work is not always an outcome of technological advancement or a proactive choice blessed by management, but often a necessity dictated by the competition or customers. In the case companies here, a distributed organizational structure was recognized as a necessary compromise, although the associated costs gave cause for some concern. Rather than virtual cooperation, the knowledge workers interviewed valued opportunities for face‐to‐face interaction and informal contact and networking. Nonetheless the benefits of distributed work were thought to outweigh its potential costs.
Regionally distributed work involves many similar problems as traditional telework from home. To avoid potential risks, partial work distribution is advisable to most organizations.
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