Coping with Collaboration Hindrances in Mobile and Virtual Work

Johanna Koroma

Research output: ThesisDoctoral ThesisCollection of Articles


This dissertation aims to understand how mobile and virtual workers experience and manage their collaboration-related job demands in cross-boundary work in multinational companies (MNC), and how this affects their well-being and performance. Successful collaboration in mobile and virtual work is demanding, as mobile information and communication technology (mICT) and a common company language, usually English has enabled collaborating from afar, frequently changing locations and working across time zones. Prior research on mobile and virtual work shows that the knowledge regarding context-specific collaboration hindrances, the coping strategies used, and their outcomes is limited and calls for further investigation. This dissertation contributes to the discussion of well-being in mobile and virtual work and builds on the Job Demands-Resources (JD-R) model and the coping theory. This multi-methods study uses a qualitative research approach, applying the systematic review method, individual and focus group interviews, diary entries of individual workers and field observations. The data used in the studies were mainly obtained from two different sources: empirical articles and relevant studies published in two leading textbooks (n =17), as well as interviews of individual knowledge workers employed by MNCs (n= 170). The results show that knowledge workers often experience novel contextual collaboration-related job demands as hindrances, which act as antecedents to individual and collective coping strategies and their varying outcomes. These hindrances are generated from collaboration across geographical, temporal and language boundaries in changing work locations, made possible by the usage of mobile information and communication technologies (mICTs) and a common company language. The individual strategies include the usage of a multipresence strategy and a simple, discipline-specific common company language, flexible work practices, and adjusting, rescheduling and adapting actions according to collaboration needs. The collectively applied strategies include building a psychologically safe language climate and a common global mindset. Applying coping strategies results in both emotional and performance outcomes that can be either beneficial or detrimental. This dissertation proposes new perspectives to both the JD-R model and the coping theory, as well as to the occupational well-being literature, and further develops the theories to cover well-being and performance in mobile and virtual work. It offers practical implications, including both managerial and work design suggestions, to enable more favourable conditions for cross-boundary collaboration in mobile and virtual work.
Translated title of the contributionCoping with Collaboration Hindrances in Mobile and Virtual Work
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor's degree
Awarding Institution
  • Aalto University
  • Vartiainen, Matti, Supervising Professor
  • Nurmi, Niina, Thesis Advisor
Print ISBNs978-952-60-8529-6
Electronic ISBNs978-952-60-8530-2
Publication statusPublished - 2019
MoE publication typeG5 Doctoral dissertation (article)


  • mobile work
  • virtual work
  • job demands
  • coping

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Coping with Collaboration Hindrances in Mobile and Virtual Work'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this