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Smart work: Supporting employees’ flexibility through ICT, HR practices and office layout

Elisabetta Raguseo (Management of Technology and Strategy Department, Grenoble Ecole de Management, Grenoble, France)
Luca Gastaldi (Department of Management, Economics and Industrial Engineering, Politecnico di Milano, Milano, Italy)
Paolo Neirotti (Department of Management and Production Engineering, Politecnico di Torino, Torino, Italy)

Evidence-based HRM

ISSN: 2049-3983

Article publication date: 5 December 2016




This paper explores smart work (SW), a work practice characterized by spatial and temporal flexibility, supported by technological tools, and that provides all employees of an organization with the best working conditions to accomplish their tasks. Specifically, the purpose of this paper is to identify whether firms adopt different SW models, explore complementarities between the factors that can lead to choose a SW model, and figure out whether contingent variables matters in the implementation of a particular SW model.


This study is based on: a survey delivered in 2013 to 100 Human Resources directors of medium and large Italian organizations to collect preliminary evidence on SW; and four embedded case studies based on 49 semi-structured interviews to better explain the findings achieved in the quantitative analysis.


Four SW models can be chosen by companies. They are named inconsistent, analogical, digital and complete SW. They are different according to investments in the enabling digital technologies, in trans-formations of the organizational policies and in workspace settings, according the contingent conditions where firms operate. Results show that there are complementarities between the elements that characterize a SW model and that at least two elements are developed in each SW model. In case all the three elements are developed, companies achieve higher labour productivity.


The paper unpacks the elements that can generate SW environments by deepening the complementarities that can be exploited among information and communication technologies, work place and work practice innovation, and by evaluating their development on employees’ performance.



An earlier version of this paper was presented at IFKAD and CINet conferences in 2014.


Raguseo, E., Gastaldi, L. and Neirotti, P. (2016), "Smart work: Supporting employees’ flexibility through ICT, HR practices and office layout", Evidence-based HRM, Vol. 4 No. 3, pp. 240-256.



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