Trading telecommuting flexibility for fewer training opportunities?

Patricia Martinez (Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, California, USA)
Carolina B. Gómez (Florida International University, Miami, Florida, USA)

Management Research

ISSN: 1536-5433

Publication date: 11 November 2013

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to examine how the amount and type of flexibility in work schedule (flextime) and work location (telecommuting) may be related to receiving fewer training and development opportunities. Given that under flextime, employees remain at the work location, while under telecommuting employees are removed from the regular work site and social system, the paper expects that as employees have more telecommuting flexibility, they will receive fewer training opportunities, which in turn will be associated with more negative job attitudes and behaviors.

Design/methodology/approach

Participants (n=298) were recruited from a healthcare and a software development firm. Employees provided self-report ratings of their intentions to quit and supervisor supportiveness. Supervisors rated employees' citizenship behaviors and the flextime, telecommuting and training and development practices for the job positions.

Findings

As employees possess greater flexibility to telecommute, they received fewer training and development opportunities, while employees with greater work schedule flexibility (flextime) actually received more training opportunities. Additionally, the paper finds that training and development mediates the negative relationship between telecommuting flexibility and organizational citizenship behaviors. Thus, as employees had greater telecommuting flexibility, they exhibited lower levels of organization citizenship behaviors.

Research limitations/implications

This study provides evidence of how greater telecommuting flexibility that leads to decreased training and development opportunities may negatively influence employees' citizenship behaviors. The study also supports that flexibility to work away from the regular work location and not schedule flexibility, is the key antecedent. The findings suggest that supervisors should monitor the amount of training opportunities provided to employees with telecommuting flexibility.

Originality/value

This is one of the few studies to examine telecommuting flexibility: the extent to which employees can work at home and modify their schedule in order to do so. It is also one of the few studies to compare how work schedule and work location flexibility may be differentially related to training and development. The paper examines the potential trade-offs between this flexibility and receiving fewer training and development opportunities.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors are grateful to the Editor, Rita Campos e Cunha, and two anonymous reviewers for their helpful feedback and advice on earlier versions of the manuscript. The authors also thank Robert Griffith for his research assistance during the early stages of their literature review development.

Citation

Martinez, P. and B. Gómez, C. (2013), "Trading telecommuting flexibility for fewer training opportunities?", Management Research, Vol. 11 No. 3, pp. 235-259. https://doi.org/10.1108/MRJIAM-04-2012-0478

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Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2013, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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