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Virtual work usage and challenges in different service sector branches

Gerda Mihhailova (Pärnu College, University of Tartu, Pärnu, Estonia)
, and
Kandela Õun (Pärnu College, University of Tartu, Pärnu, Estonia)
Kulno Türk (Faculty of Economics, University of Tartu, Tartu, Estonia)

Baltic Journal of Management

ISSN: 1746-5265

Article publication date: 13 September 2011




Virtual work presents new challenges for managers compared to using ordinary, face‐to‐face work practices. The purpose of this paper is to show how different virtual work types are related to different challenges that require different managerial and co‐operation approaches.


Empirical data were gathered during a period of two years using a questionnaire (3,156 respondents from 323 companies representing different Estonian service sector branches) and interviewing.


The paper concludes that a higher level of work virtuality leads to a lower level of work satisfaction, mainly due to inappropriate management techniques and problems related to information and communication technology‐mediated communication.

Research limitations/implications

The sample consists of only service sector organizations, limiting generalization of the results to the practice of manufacturing companies.

Practical implications

The results will help managers of service organizations to prepare and choose appropriate management techniques for working with virtual workforce.


The paper shows that service sector organizations operate with different degrees of virtuality that lead to different challenges and consequently require different management techniques.



Mihhailova, G., Õun, K. and Türk, K. (2011), "Virtual work usage and challenges in different service sector branches", Baltic Journal of Management, Vol. 6 No. 3, pp. 342-356.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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