Title

Employee isolation and telecommuter organizational commitment

Publication Date

3-26-2020

Document Type

Article

Department

Information Systems and Technology

Publication Title

Employee Relations

Volume

42

Issue

3

DOI

10.1108/ER-06-2019-0246

First Page

609

Last Page

625

Abstract

Purpose: In light of the increasing popularity of telecommuting, this study investigates how telecommuters' organizational commitment may be linked to psychological and physical isolation. Psychological isolation refers to feelings of emotional unfulfillment when one lacks meaningful connections, support, and interactions with others, while physical isolation refers to physical separation from others. Design/methodology/approach: An online survey was used to collect data from 446 employees who telecommute one or more days per week. Findings: The results of this study indicate that telecommuters' affective commitment is negatively associated with psychological isolation, whereas their continuance commitment is positively correlated with both psychological and physical isolation. These findings imply that telecommuters may remain with their employers due to perceived benefits, a desire to conserve resources such as time and emotional energy, or weakened marketability, rather than emotional connections to their colleagues or organizations. Practical implications: Organizations wishing to retain and maximize the contributions of telecommuters should pursue measures that address collocated employees' negative assumptions toward telecommuters, preserve the benefits of remote work, and cultivate telecommuters' emotional connections (affective commitment) and felt obligation (normative commitment) to their organizations. Originality/value: Through the creative integration of the need-to-belong and relational cohesion theories, this study contributes to the telecommuting and organizational commitment literature by investigating the dynamics between both psychological and physical isolation and telecommuters' organizational commitment.

Keywords

Employee isolation, Employee well-being, Organizational commitment, Telecommuting

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