The work of belonging through technology in remote work: A case study in tele-nursing

Ella Hafermalz, Kai Riemer

Research output: Chapter in Book / Report / Conference proceedingConference contributionAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Remote workers are typically knowledge workers who work from home using ICT to coordinate and collaborate with their colleagues, clients and managers. While remote working has many advocates, it also has critics. A frequent concern is that remote workers will experience social isolation. In this case study we focus on what tele-health nurses who work from home do to overcome this issue. We draw on Goffman's (1959) theatre metaphor, in particular his four types of "communication out of character" as our theoretical lens for analysing interview data. We demonstrate that the ways in which nurses communicate with each other using ICTs corresponds with the ways in which stage performers use these forms of surreptitious communication to discuss and execute a performance. By further developing the "communication out of character" framework we derive a theory of how remote workers actively maintain belonging though technology. We show that what might look like peripheral, virtual "water cooler chat" actually builds belonging within the team, which in turn becomes a resource for the team's skilful performance of work itself. We contribute to Positive Organizational Scholarship in that we show how important functions of belonging in remote work can be facilitated with technology.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication24th European Conference on Information Systems, ECIS 2016
PublisherAssociation for Information Systems
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2016
Externally publishedYes
Event24th European Conference on Information Systems, ECIS 2016 - Istanbul, Turkey
Duration: 12 Jun 201615 Jun 2016

Conference

Conference24th European Conference on Information Systems, ECIS 2016
Country/TerritoryTurkey
CityIstanbul
Period12/06/1615/06/16

Keywords

  • Abductive research
  • Belonging
  • Instant messaging
  • Remote working
  • Virtual work

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'The work of belonging through technology in remote work: A case study in tele-nursing'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this