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  • Remote working and its management Attitudes and perceptions of future workforce

    Miia Aronen

    Bachelor’s thesis May 2017 International Business Degree Programme in Business Administration

  • Description

    Author(s)

    Aronen, Miia Type of publication

    Bachelor’s thesis Date

    May 2017

    Language of publication: English

    Number of pages

    55 Permission for web publi-

    cation: x

    Title of publication

    Remote working and its management Attitudes and perceptions of future workforce

    Degree programme

    Degree Programme in International Business

    Supervisor(s)

    Saukkonen, Juha

    Assigned by

    Abstract

    The aim of this study was to define future workers’, i.e. the millennial generation’s, per- ceptions and attitudes related to remote working and its management. With the goal of obtaining insights of how remote working is seen as a way of work by the upcoming major- ity of the workforce, qualitative focus group interviews were conducted to examine what expectations and appealing as well as dispelling factors were raised by the discussion.

    Due to globalization and rapid technological development, multicultural teams are becom- ing increasingly common. Therefore, the aim was to examine remote working from an in- ternational perspective rather than focus on any specific nationality. The primary data con- sisted of two focus group interviews which were implemented in November 2016. The in- terviews included a total of 12 participants representing both genders and seven nationali- ties.

    The theory and reviewed previous studies revealed that remote working was mostly val- ued because of the advantages brought by its flexibility. On the other hand, the greatest weakness of remote working were the problems resulting from the lack of face-to-face in- teraction. Interaction with colleagues was linked by the millennials, for example, to learn- ing and ideation, networking and to the sense of belonging.

    Although the strengths and weaknesses were viewed rather similarly compared to the pre- vious research, the millennial participants of this study also named other threats of remote working. The results highlighted the threat of decreased skill development and the lack of self-discipline in remote working. The interviewees emphasized the managers’ role in re- mote work planning and management in view of maintaining efficient communication and social ties to the working community.

    Keywords/tags (subjects) remote working, teleworking, millennial, knowledge work, management Miscellaneous

    https://janet.finna.fi/Search/Results?lookfor=asiasanastot&prefiltered=format_Database&SearchForm_submit=Find&retainFilters=0&filter%5b%5d=format%3A%220%2FDatabase%2F%22&lng=en-gb%22http://vesa.lib.helsinki.fi

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    Kuvailulehti

    Tekijä(t)

    Aronen, Miia Julkaisun laji

    Opinnäytetyö Päivämäärä

    Toukokuu 2017

    Julkaisun kieli: Englanti

    Sivumäärä

    55 Verkkojulkaisulupa

    myönnetty: x

    Työn nimi

    Etätyö ja etätyön johtaminen Tulevaisuuden työntekijöiden asenteet ja odotukset

    Koulutusohjelma

    Degree Programme in International Business

    Työn ohjaaja(t)

    Saukkonen, Juha

    Toimeksiantaja(t)

    Tiivistelmä

    Opinnäytetyön tavoitteena oli selvittää tulevien työntekijöiden, y-sukupolven, odotuksia sekä asenteita etätyötä sekä sen johtamista kohtaan. Käsityksiä etätyön hyvistä ja huo- noista puolista tutkittiin kvalitatiivisen tutkimusotteen kautta ryhmähaastatteluilla.

    Globalisaation sekä nopean teknologisen kehityksen johdosta monikulttuuriset tiimit ovat yleistyneet. Tämän johdosta tutkimus pyrki kartoittamaan etätyön kuvaa kansainvälisestä näkökulmasta, eikä siten keskittynyt vain yhteen kansallisuuteen. Aineisto kerättiin marras- kuussa 2016. Kahteen ryhmähaastatteluun osallistui yhteensä 12 henkilöä, edustaen mo- lempia sukupuolia sekä seitsemää eri kansallisuutta.

    Teoria sekä aikaisempi tutkimus paljastivat, että etätyön suurimpana etuna nähdään sen joustavuuden tuomat mahdollisuudet. Heikkoutena sen sijaan koetaan kasvokkain käydyn kommunikaation puute, ja tämän tuomat vaikeudet kanssakäymisessä. Tutkimuksen mu- kaan y-sukupolvi liitti kanssakäymisen vaikutukset vahvasti oppimiseen ja ideointiin, suh- teiden luomiseen sekä yhteenkuuluvuuden tunteeseen.

    Vaikka vahvuudet ja heikkoudet koettiin suhteellisen samalla tavalla aikaisempiin tutki- muksiin verrattuna, tämä tutkimus paljasti etätyön uusia uhkia y-sukupolven näkökul- masta. Tutkimustuloksista havaittiin, että y-sukupolvi koki etätyön olevan uhka taitojen ke- hittymiselle sekä myös haasteena itsensä johtamisessa. Haastatteluihin osallistuneet ko- rostivat esimiehen roolia etätyön toteutuksen suunnittelussa sekä johtamisessa, jotta te- hokas kommunikaatio, sekä sosiaaliset suhteet työpaikkaan säilyisivät.

    Avainsanat (asiasanat)

    etätyö, y-sukupolvi, z-sukupolvi, tietotyö, johtaminen Muut tiedot

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    Contents

    1 Introduction ................................................................................................... 3

    2 Theory and Knowledge Base for the Research ................................................. 5

    2.1 Knowledge work and working life – the road ahead .................................. 5

    2.2 Working environment – status and directions of development ................. 7

    2.3 Millennials as knowledge workers .............................................................. 8

    2.4 Defining remote working .......................................................................... 10

    2.5 Remote work management ....................................................................... 12

    2.6 Advantages and disadvantages to different stakeholders ........................ 13

    2.7 Synthesis of earlier research relevant to the study .................................. 15

    3 Research approach and implementation ....................................................... 19

    3.1 Research design ......................................................................................... 19

    3.2 Research methodology .............................................................................. 20

    3.3 Research ethics .......................................................................................... 22

    3.4 Data collection by focus group interviews ................................................ 23

    3.5 Analyzing the data ..................................................................................... 27

    4 Research Results ........................................................................................... 29

    4.1 Strengths ................................................................................................... 29

    4.2 Weaknesses ............................................................................................... 30

    4.3 Opportunities ............................................................................................ 33

    4.4 Threats ....................................................................................................... 34

    5 Conclusions .................................................................................................. 40

    5.1 According to the focus group participants, what are the appealing and

    dispelling factors of remote work? .......................................................................... 42

    5.2 What are the expectations of future workforce from the management of

    remote workers? ...................................................................................................... 42

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    6 Discussion .................................................................................................... 45

    6.1 Reliability and validity ............................................................................... 45

    6.2 Ideas for future research ........................................................................... 47

    References ........................................................................................................... 48

    Appendices .......................................................................................................... 55

    Figures

    Figure 1. Knowledge worker definition .......................................................................... 5

    Figure 2. High work demands by occupation. Source: European Foundation for the

    Improvement of Living and Working Conditions ........................................................... 6

    Figure 3. Definitions of the concept of remote work................................................... 10

    Figure 4. Definition of remote work in this study by Gajendran (2016, 191) .............. 16

    Figure 5. SWOT analysis ............................................................................................... 17

    Figure 6. Research approach and implementation ...................................................... 25

    Figure 7. Reliability and validity criteria in qualitative research (Kuusiaho 2016, 64;

    see also Kananen 2011, 67 - 69)...............................................................................

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