Work design for global professionals: Connectivity demands, connectivity behaviors, and their effects on psychological and behavioral outcomes

Niina Nurmi, Pamela Hinds

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
28 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

We investigated connectivity demands as a work design characteristic and how its different enactments affect interpersonal relationships and outcomes in global work. Work design theory has seen a resurgence over the last decade as both work and the expectations of workers have evolved. Emerging technologies, in particular, have fueled higher levels of autonomy, greater interdependence, and more global collaboration. These trends, in turn, have sparked increasing recognition among scholars of the social characteristics of work design. Building on this burgeoning research, we identify a modern-day social characteristic of work, global connectivity demands, defined as the extent to which workers collaborate with distant colleagues, especially those that span significant time zone differences, thus requiring high levels of interaction across national boundaries. We examine how these demands are enacted by global professionals and what effects they have on outcomes, including relationships. We conducted initial interviews with 13 human resource directors, which confirmed that global professionals face strong pressure to connect and are being expected to communicate frequently with their distant colleagues, work after hours, and make site visits. Our study of 413 global professionals in an engineering firm then found that not all workers conformed to these connectivity demands, and that their choices shaped their interpersonal relationships with distant colleagues. We advance research on connectivity by interweaving it with work design theory to create a more multifaceted view of the role and effects of global connectivity demands. Our findings demonstrate that different enactments of connectivity may have different effects on interpersonal relationships and work outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number0170840620937885
Pages (from-to)1697-1724
JournalOrganization Studies
Volume41
Issue number12
Early online date11 Jun 2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 23 Jul 2020
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Keywords

  • connectivity
  • global connectivity demands
  • global work
  • interpersonal relationships
  • work design

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