Unpackaging Manager Mistrust in Allowing Telework: Comparing and Integrating Theoretical Perspectives
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We developed and tested an integrative model centering on the significance of trust as a basis for managers’ decisions about allowing versus prohibiting their employees to telework. We examined the importance of trust in relation to several other factors managers may consider in making telework decisions including coordination and communication, equity, and a desire to accommodate employees.
Study 1 was a policy capturing investigation of 71 respondents intended to document the relative importance and interactions among trust and these other theoretically based factors. Study 2 was a test of the full theoretical model based on the responses of 85 managers who reported on these considerations for the 191 employees about whom they make telework decisions.
Results from the two studies were largely consistent. Managers’ assessments of employees’ conscientiousness and trustworthiness were paramount in predicting telework allowance, with the other theoretically based considerations generally failing to attenuate the importance of those personal assessments.
Organizations wishing to increase the use of telework (e.g., by implementing manager telework training) must directly address managers’ mistrust as a factor underlying this resistance. Job-related and technological changes may not dampen the effects of mistrust.
To our knowledge, this is the most comprehensive and theoretically grounded assessment of the various considerations factoring into managers’ telework decisions.
KeywordsTelework Telecommuting Trust Policy capturing Manager resistance Multilevel mediation
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