The Impact of Beliefs on Effort in Telecommuting Teams
The use of telecommuting policies remains controversial for many employers because of the perceived opportunity for shirking outside of the traditional workplace; a problem that is potentially exacerbated if employees work in teams. Using a controlled experiment, where individuals work in teams with varying numbers of telecommuters, we test how telecommuting affects the effort choice of workers. We .nd that differences in productivity within the team do not result from shirking by telecommuters; rather, changes in effort result from an individual.s belief about the productivity of their teammates. In line with stereotypes, a high proportion of both telecommuting and non-telecommuting participants believed their telecommuting partners were less productive. Consequently, lower expectations of partner productivity resulted in lower effort when individuals were partnered with telecommuters. Our results suggest that managers should actively engage in disseminating productivity in formation to their telecommuting team in order to avoid negative effects on productivity.
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