Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS: http://ethos.bl.uk/OrderDetails.do?uin=uk.bl.ethos.573581
Title: New working practices : identity, trust, and the emotional experience of remote working
Author: Wilkinson, Jennifer Kate
Awarding Body: University of the West of England, Bristol
Current Institution: University of the West of England, Bristol
Date of Award: 2011
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Abstract:
Developments within organisations and their management are enabling organisations to consider new ways of working in contrast to traditional office based patterns. In many cases these changes to working practices have been driven by developments in information technology (IT), which have allowed organisations to evolve into a state of flux with the emergent beginnings of a disparate workforce. Advances in IT and an emphasis on work/life balance are leading some organisations to try to capitalise on this evolution and potentially revolutionise the working environment by creating strategic organisation structures that sustain a remote workforce. The aim of this study is to explore the emotional experience of remote working. More specifically, to explore the interplay between 'identity and agency', 'trust and structure', and the relationship between the emotions expressed and the remote workers' perceptions of agency and structure. Building on a pilot study this research adopts an interpretative approach which considers remote working as a lived experience for participants who consider themselves remote workers and to varying degrees, work remotely. A survey was undertaken in the form of electronic questionnaires in order to gain a breadth of responses and to develop and inform my approach to. interview and analysis. The research then focuses on in-depth individual interviews with fifteen participants. Mind maps were used to gather data and undertake initial in-situ analysis within individual interviews. Diaries presented to participants as log accounts were also used. A thematic approach to data analysis is adopted and data interpreted within a social constructionist paradigm. The findings of the study are presented in three themes that were explored and developed within the research: identity and agency, trust and structure, and the emotional experience of remote working. The first of these explores how remote workers undertake identity work in an environment of decreased social cues and the interaction between this and their perceptions of agency. The second theme explores how remote workers attribute meaning to trust and the interaction between this and their perceptions of structure within an environment of decreased social cues. The emotional experience of remote working is discussed as guilt, isolation, frustration, and freedom and considers the interplay between the emotions expressed by participants and their perceptions of agency and structure. In brief, the research findings suggest that identity work undertaken by remote workers is intertwined with their perception of agency and that there is an interaction between the way in which remote workers attribute meaning to trust and how they perceive the structure of remote working. The research suggests further that there is interplay between the emotions expressed by remote workers and perceptions of their agency and perceptions of the structure of remote working practice. This thesis aims to contribute to the field in three ways: theoretically, methodologically and empirically. In summary, the theoretical contribution of this thesis is in its aim to initiate critical debate from an inter-subjective, interpretive perspective. The methodological contribution is via a reflective approach to interview developed in this research which addresses the issues of the hermeneutic circle and attempts to give clarity to the voice to the participants, The third contribution to the field is the empirical nature of the study which furthers understanding of the experience of remote workers by empirically evaluating the theoretical discussion around the concepts of identity, trust and emotions in light of notions of agency and structure.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.573581  DOI: Not available
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