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Workplace flexibility and new product development performance: The role of telework and flexible work schedules


  • Coenen, Marja
  • Kok, Robert A.W.


This paper investigates the effects of telework and flexible work schedules on the performance of teams in new product development projects. Organizations increasingly introduce workplace flexibility practices that provide flexibility with regard to where or when the employee works. The findings of NPD teams in five cases, situated in two telecommunication firms, show that telework has a positive effect on NPD performance through enabling knowledge sharing, cross-functional cooperation and inter-organizational involvement. This improves the speed and quality of product development, provided that face-to-face contact is not completely replaced by virtual contact. A basic level of face-to face contact is necessary to offset the negative effects of telework on the quality of the shared knowledge, which are larger when the knowledge is sticky. Flexible work schedules and unexpectedly hot-desking were found to increase telework usage. This implies for managers that workplace flexibility needs enablers and cannot do without a sufficient level of face-to-face contact.

Suggested Citation

  • Coenen, Marja & Kok, Robert A.W., 2014. "Workplace flexibility and new product development performance: The role of telework and flexible work schedules," European Management Journal, Elsevier, vol. 32(4), pages 564-576.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:eurman:v:32:y:2014:i:4:p:564-576
    DOI: 10.1016/j.emj.2013.12.003

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    2. SURUGIU, Marius & SURUGIU, Camelia & MAZILESCU, Raluca, 2018. "ICTs AND EMPLOYMENT: NEW OPPORTUNITIES ON THE LABOUR MARKET," Annals of Spiru Haret University, Economic Series, Universitatea Spiru Haret, vol. 18(2), pages 117-141.
    3. Azar, Sana & Khan, Aamir & Van Eerde, Wendelien, 2018. "Modelling linkages between flexible work arrangements' use and organizational outcomes," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 91(C), pages 134-143.
    4. Ko, Eun-Jung & Kim, A-Hyun & Kim, Sang-Soo, 2021. "Toward the understanding of the appropriation of ICT-based Smart-work and its impact on performance in organizations," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 171(C).
    5. Sanjai Kumar Shukla & Sushil & Manoj Kumar Sharma, 2019. "Managerial Paradox Toward Flexibility: Emergent Views Using Thematic Analysis of Literature," Global Journal of Flexible Systems Management, Springer;Global Institute of Flexible Systems Management, vol. 20(4), pages 349-370, December.
    6. Maria-Alexandra Sarbu & Cosmin-Nicolae Mirea & Mihaela Mihai & Puiu Nistoreanu & Elham Dadfar, 2021. "Teachers’ and Professors’ Perception of Telework in Romania," The AMFITEATRU ECONOMIC journal, Academy of Economic Studies - Bucharest, Romania, vol. 23(58), pages 736-736, August.
    7. Meenal Annachhatre & Manasi Gore, 2021. "Rebooting and Rejuvenating India’s External Sector Post-Pandemic," European Journal of Marketing and Economics, European Center for Science Education and Research, vol. 4, January -.
    8. Aaro Hazak, 2017. "Better not to ask your employees to come to work? Issues in R&D work efficiency," TUT Economic Research Series 32, Department of Finance and Economics, Tallinn University of Technology.
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    10. Francesca Loia & Paola Adinolfi, 2021. "Teleworking as an Eco-Innovation for Sustainable Development: Assessing Collective Perceptions during COVID-19," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 13(9), pages 1-16, April.
    11. Ongaki Jacob, 2019. "An examination of the relationship between flexible work arrangements, work-family conflict, organizational commitment, and job performance," Management, Sciendo, vol. 23(2), pages 169-187, December.
    12. Rony Prabowo & Moses Laksono Singgih & Putu Dana Karningsih & Erwin Widodo, 2020. "New Product Development from Inactive Problem Perspective in Indonesian SMEs to Open Innovation," Journal of Open Innovation: Technology, Market, and Complexity, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 6(1), pages 1-20, March.
    13. Milenko Radonic & Valentina Vukmirovic & Milos Milosavljevic, 2021. "The Impact of Hybrid Workplace Models on Intangible Assets: The Case of an Emerging Country," The AMFITEATRU ECONOMIC journal, Academy of Economic Studies - Bucharest, Romania, vol. 23(58), pages 770-770, August.
    14. Dodi Wirawan Irawanto & Khusnul Rofida Novianti & Kenny Roz, 2021. "Work from Home: Measuring Satisfaction between Work–Life Balance and Work Stress during the COVID-19 Pandemic in Indonesia," Economies, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 9(3), pages 1-13, June.
    15. Ge, Jiaqi & Polhill, J. Gareth & Craig, Tony P., 2018. "Too much of a good thing? Using a spatial agent-based model to evaluate “unconventional” workplace sharing programmes," Journal of Transport Geography, Elsevier, vol. 69(C), pages 83-97.
    16. Kazekami, Sachiko, 2020. "Mechanisms to improve labor productivity by performing telework," Telecommunications Policy, Elsevier, vol. 44(2).
    17. Benedikt Müller-Stewens & Klaus Möller, 2017. "Performance in new product development: a comprehensive framework, current trends, and research directions," Journal of Management Control: Zeitschrift für Planung und Unternehmenssteuerung, Springer, vol. 28(2), pages 157-201, May.
    18. Toshihiro Okubo, 2021. "Non-routine Tasks and ICT tools in Telework," Keio-IES Discussion Paper Series 2021-017, Institute for Economics Studies, Keio University.

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