University of Hertfordshire

Journal of Business Research (Journal)

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Jyoti Choudrie - Peer reviewer

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Will trust, risk, culture, the digital divide and resistance to change feature in workplace productivity: An after and during the Covid-19 lockdown and social distancing perspective Call for Papers

The Covid 19 pandemic is a phenomenon that has affected society and organizations in many unexpected and unforeseen ways. The largest impact has been upon the work and family situations. Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) advances like, broadband, smartphones and the like have led to the rise of the digitally enabled ‘disruptive technologies’ or ‘sharing platform-economy’ (De Stefano, 2016; Forde et al., 2017; Gandini, 2018; Howcroft and Bergvall-Kåreborn, 2019; Kenney and Zysman, 2016; Peticca-Harris et al., 2018; Srnicek, 2017; Wood et al., 2018, Veen et al, 2019). These technologies in the platform economy have become vitally important during this present pandemic. To slow the spread of the pandemic, countries around the globe imposed ‘lockdowns’ and restricted individual movements, which resulted in the concept of ‘working from home’ to become the new normal way of working. In the workplace, collaboration tools have disrupted communication tools in the form of the three most popular platforms- Zoom, Microsoft Teams and Google Meet, all allowing contact with colleagues and linking up with friends and family for weekly digital get-togethers. Yet while they all share the common capability of messaging and video calls, each come with their own features that might make one a better option for individual specific needs than the other.

As the pandemic continues to impact society and organizations, there are various precautionary measures are being pursued globally including, the application of curfews and lockdowns. During the lockdown, certain sectors such as, office based, the grocery retail, education and white-collar services (accountancy, financial analysts) are operating near to normal services due to the provided disruptive technologies. This has led to positive workforce productivity outcomes, but at the expense or not, of the way research conceptualises or juxtaposes work and home. For example, due to the way countries are handling the pandemic, lockdowns are being imposed that are leading to full integration, where there is no distinction between what is home and what is work. In this case, the individual thinks and acts the same with all social partners (e.g., spouse, supervisors, friends) (Nippert-Eng 1996) and is working longer hours. From anecdotal evidence, this is the viewpoint that is emerging and is leading to work-life imbalances and conflicts between work and family life (Shockley & Allen 2010). For organizations, telecommuting, a flexible way of working allows workers to work from home or a remote location and has important benefits for organizations and employees (Nieminen et al., 2011).

Research has found that employees who telecommute are more likely to be satisfied and committed at work and less likely to experience role-stress and work-family conflict (Golden, & Gajendran, 2018; Masuda et al, 2017). For organizations, telecommuting offers productivity increases, improvements in employee retention (Harker and MacDonell, 2012), and reductions in the corporate real estate expenses of organizations (Ye, 2012). These benefits likely explain why a Human Resource Management report highlighted that organizations supporting the WFH concept had a happier and productive workforce than one that does not (SHRM, 2019).

With the lockdowns being eased and social distancing reducing, governments are striving for economic growth and encouraging everyone to return to their ‘normal’ working routines. Before the pandemic, organizations sought to build large office spaces to accommodate the large numbers of workers. However, McKinsey & Co (2020) found that despite the earlier apprehension towards the WFH concept, workforces were now adjusting to the new ‘way of work’, so does this suggest that organisations are now going to provide a WFH environment? What are the implications for the workers? Is there going to be a ‘big brother’ attitude adopted by organizations to monitor workers in the home or is there going to be a laissez faire attitude to workers. As long as the work is completed, organizations will allow the workers to determine their way of working.

However, not all individuals have found the WFH concept beneficial as it leads to longer working hours. This is due to the reduced times spent on travelling or ‘informal socialising’, which made it more difficult for the workforce to rest and recover and resulted in more tiredness (Song and Gao, 2018). Working overtime at the expense of family could jeopardize employees’ social wellbeing by raising work–family conflict, increasing the workers’ guilt about neglecting their families and resulting in more family disputes (Ojala 2011).

The border theory also suggests that due to the WFH concept heightened negative work- home spill- overs as the workers found it difficult to ‘switch off’ at the end of the day and unwind at the end of the work day (Crosbie and Moore, 2004; Marsh and Musson, 2008). A Hopkinson et al (2003) study found that the social interaction offered in a work environment was pertinent for work productivity. Another also found that career development opportunities and the technical support offered by being within the workplace was missing and vital for productivity (Felstead and Henseke, 2017). These 3 disruptive technologies also pose as risks in their own respective ways, although Google met and Teams less so than Zoom. Zoom is famous for video meetings being accessed, particularly where there is no password protection. A famous Zoom bombing occurred within England where a screenshot of a Zoom meeting was shared publicly by the UK’s prime minister, Boris Johnson where the Zoom Meeting ID was also shared (Hachman, 2020). With google meet the risk is that when there are connections with low bandwidth, the video freezes a lot, but making only voice calls solves it. Google Meet’s desktop plugin sometimes freezes if there are any interruptions in its provision. The only risk that has been seen with Teams is that some of the settings can be difficult to find (i.e. notifications, sounds/alerts). These are risks that have been observed presently, but there could be more risks that we seek to identify through this call. Due to such drawbacks, difficulties can occur for users, which can lead to a resistance to using the technologies within users (Choudrie and Zamani, 2016) and a digital divide (Iansiti and Richards, 2020).

As countries strive to control or overcome the pandemic, and society and organizations seek solutions, the question that emerges is: ‘What is the role for these platforms given countries are reverting back to the ‘normal’ way of work. Will the platforms remain and how much trust will there be in such platforms in the future? Until the easing of the lockdowns and social distancing measures there was no viable option for employers and trust was placed in these platforms for many occupations and jobs. The workforce has also experienced a WFH environment where drawbacks such as, longer working days are also now clear and personally experienced by individuals.

With the pandemic being an unexpected and unknown phenomenon, and the situation in countries changing rapidly, this call seeks to identify, explore and understand whether these disruptive, collaborative platforms will remain and to be sustained in our daily life activities. What will their role be in the ‘normal’ working practices day? How will performance and productivity be measured when using such platforms? Are there other collaboration, disruptive technologies that are less risky, more trustworthy, but also user friendly? Given that organizations are now having to adapt to a WFH culture to also exist with their current situations, how will the productivity of the workforce be measured. Many organizations are already seeking employee monitoring software (Ghosh, 2020), so new questions will emerge. Will face to face meetings become extinct, or is there a place for the technologies and face to face meetings and working besides one another practice to co-exist? Will these technologies be adopted and used only in certain sectors, or in all? How will they be used? What will they be used for and are they likely to remain, or will they disappear as we become used to returning to the traditional ways of working?

As the pandemic has impacted human daily lives in dramatic ways, we are seeking papers that will identify whether these technologies do have a place in our society by examining the role of trust, risk, working practices, resistance to change, productivity, the digital divide and culture. This call invites case studies, cross-sectional, longitudinal, conceptual, applied and empirical papers, qualitative, quantitative, or mixed method research papers that offer novel and innovative directions for academia, policy makers, or practitioners. Particularly, we encourage submission of papers that deal with the following themes, although we welcome other themes that can be used along these and contribute to the aims of this call for papers, which are:

· To identify, explain and understand role of the themes of trust, risk, culture, the digital divide and resistance to change during and after the ‘lockdowns’ and social distancing issues.

· To explore which of these themes feature the most when considering the ‘lockdown’ and social distancing and after the lockdown and social distancing.

· To explore whether a digital divide and resistance to change exists now that organizations have been using the disruptive, collaborative tools and their impacts on productivity.

· How, when and what organizational cultural changes will have occurred and will occur during and after the ‘lockdown’ and social distancing.

Please note: Whilst we seek papers that will consider the collaboration, disruptive technologies impacting the ‘lockdown’ and social distancing period, we are also seeking publications that consider the situations after countries have begun to ease the ‘lockdown’ and social distancing measures.

Timelines

· March 26, 2021: Abstracts of 300 words will be sought from potential contributors

· May 14, 2021: Workshop arranged with the support of UKAIS, BAM to inform authors of topics being considered based on the abstract feedback.  Please note: This workshop has been moved to July 29, 2021 where all authors will be invited to present an overview of their work. 

· October 15, 2021: Final Submissions will be made.

· February 21, 2022: Feedback for accepted publications will be provided.

· July 29, 2022: Final draft of publications will be submitted to the journal.

Dissemination Channels

As soon as acceptance of the call occurs, we will publicise the call in our respective university websites. We will also disseminate the call using online social networks (Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram), as well as through the British Computer Society, Association of Project Management and other networks that we can tap into. We will also seek to diffuse the call using the Association of Information Systems, conferences such as, European Conference of Information Systems (ECIS), America Conference of Information Systems, International Conference of Information Systems, IFIP 8, 9.4 and any other IFIP conferences as well as the Academy of Management, British Academy of Management, Chartered Association of Business Schools and the journal’s website.

References

· Choudrie, J., & Zamani, E. D. (2016). Understanding Individual User Resistance and Workarounds of Enterprise Social Networks: The Case of Service Ltd. Journal of Information Technology31(2), 130–151.

· Crosbie, T. and J. Moore (2004), ‘Work-Life Balance and Working from Home’, Social Policy and Society 3, 3, 223–233.

· De Stefano, V (2016) The rise of the ‘just-in-time workforce’: On-demand work, crowdwork, and labor protection in the ‘gig-economy’. Comparative Labor Law & Policy Journal 37(2): 471–504.

· Felstead, A. and Henseke, G. (2017). Assessing the growth of remote working and its consequences for effort, well-being and work-life balance. (2017). New Technology, Work, and Employment. 32, (3): 195-212.

· Forde, C, Stuart, M, Joyce, S, et al. (2017) The social protection of workers in the collaborative economy. Policy Department A: Economic and Scientific Policy, European Parliament, Brussels, November.

· Gandini, A (2018) Labour process theory and the gig economy. Human Relations. Epub ahead of print 18 September. DOI: 10.1177/0018726718790002.

· Ghosh, S. (2020). Work from home: Monitoring employee productivity in the times of lockdown. FinancialExpress.com. Available at: financialexpress.com/jobs/work-from-home-monitoring-employee-productivity-in-the-times-of-lockdown/1967197. Viewed: June 21, 2020.

Golden, T. D., & Gajendran, R. S. (2018). Unpacking the role of a telecommuter’s job in their performance: Examining job complexity, problem solving, interdependence, and social support. Journal of Business and Psychology. 34: 55–69.Google Meet vs Microsoft Teams. Available at: https://www.softwareadvice.com/video-conferencing/google-meet-profile/vs/microsoft-teams/. Viewed June 21, 2020.

· Hachman, M. (2020). How to prevent Zoom bombing by being smarter than Boris Johnson. Available at: https://www.pcworld.com/article/3535213/how-to-prevent-zoom-bombing-by-being-smarter-than-boris-johnson.html. Viewed June 15, 2020.

Harker Martin, B. and MacDonnell, R. (2012), “Is telework effective for organizations? A meta-analysis of empirical research on perceptions of telework and organizational outcomes”, Management Research Review, 35, (7): 602-616.Hopkinson, P., James, P. and Maruyama, T. (2002), “Teleworking at BT: the economic, environmental and social impacts of its Workabout scheme”, a report funded by the European Union under the Information Society Technology programme (1998‐2002). Available at: https://www-emerald-com.ezproxy.herts.ac.uk/insight/content/doi/10.1108/09670730310792565/full/html. Viewed: June 21, 2020.Howcroft, D, Bergvall-Kåreborn, B (2019) A typology of crowdwork platforms. Work, Employment and Society 33(1): 21–38.Hughes, O. (2020). Zoom vs Microsoft Teams vs Google Meet: How do they compare? https://www.techrepublic.com/article/zoom-vs-microsoft-teams-vs-google-meet-how-do-they-compare/ viewed June 19, 2020.

· Iansiti, M. and Richards, G. (2020). Coronavirus Is Widening the Corporate Digital Divide. Harvard Business Review. Available at: https://hbr.org/2020/03/coronavirus-is-widening-the-corporate-digital-divide. Viewed: June 15, 2020.

· Kelly, E., Moen, P., Oakes, J.M., Fan, W., Okechukwu, C., Davis, K. D., Hammer, L. B., Kossek, E. E. & King, R. B. (2014). Changing work and work-family conflict: Evidence from the work, family and health network. American Sociological Review, 79: 485-516.

· Kenney, M, Zysman, J (2016) The rise of the platform economy. Issues in Science and Technology 32(3): 61–69.

· Masuda, A.M., Holtschlag, C., Nicklin, J.M.(2017) "Why the availability of telecommuting matters: The effects of telecommuting on engagement via goal pursuit", Career Development International, 22: 200-219.

· Marsh, K. and G. Musson (2008), ‘Men at Work and at Home: Managing Emotion in Telework’, Gender, Work and Organization 15, 1, 31–48.

· McKinsey & Co (2020). Reimagining the office and work life after COVID-19. Available at: https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/organization/our-insights/reimagining-the-office-and-work-life-after-covid-19. Viewed: January 22, 2021.

· Nippert-Eng C. (1996).Home and Work: Negotiating Boundaries Through Everyday Life. Chicago: University Chicago Press

· Ojala, S (2011). Supplemental work at home among Finnish wage earners: involuntary overtime or taking the advantage of flexibility? Nordic Journal of Working Life Studies. Volume 1(2): 2-21.

· Peticca-Harris, A, de Gama, N, Ravishankar, MN (2018) Postcapitalist precarious work and those in the ‘drivers’ seat: Exploring the motivations and lived experiences of Uber drivers in Canada. Organization. Epub ahead of print 28 February. DOI: 10.1177/1350508418757332.

· Richter, A. (2020). Locked-down digital work. International Journal of Information Management, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijinfomgt.2020.102157.

· Shockley K., Allen T.D. (2010). Investigating the missing link in flexible work arrangement utilization: an in-dividual difference perspective. Journal of Vocational. Behaviour, 76:131–42 .

· SHRM Employee Benefits (2019). Available at:

https://www.shrm.org/hr-today/trends-and-forecasting/research-and-surveys/Documents/SHRM%20Employee%20Benefits%202019%20Executive%20Summary.pdf. Viewed June 22, 2020.

· Song, Y. Gao, J. (2018): Does Telework Stress Employees Out? A Study on Working at Home and Subjective Well-Being for Wage/Salary Workers, IZA Discussion Papers, No. 11993, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA), Bonn. Available at: https://www.econstor.eu/bitstream/10419/193287/1/dp11993.pdf. Viewed June 15, 2020.

· Srnicek, N. (2017). Platform Capitalism. Polity Press, Cambridge.

· Ye, L.R. (2012), “Telecommuting: Implementation for success”, International Journal of Business and Social Science, 3, (15): 20-29.

· Wood, AJ, Graham, M, Lehdonvirta, V, et al. (2018) Good gig, bad big: Autonomy and algorithmic control in the global gig economy. Work, Employment and Society 33(1): 56–75.

Contact:

· 1. Jyoti Choudrie, Professor of Information Systems
University of Hertfordshire,
Hertfordshire Business School,
Hatfield
Herts. AL10 9EU
UK.
E-mail: j.choudrie@herts.ac.uk

· 2. Isabel Ramos, Associate Professor
Departamento de Sistemas de Informação
Escola de Engenharia
Universidade do Minho
Campus de Azurém
4800 - 058 Guimarães
Portugal
E-mail: iramos@dsi.uminho.pt

· 3. Andri Georgiadou, Assistant Professor
Assistant Professor in Human Resource Management,
Deputy Director of MSc Human Resource Management and Organisation
Nottingham Universoty Business School,
Nottingham University
Nottingham, NG7 2RD.
UK.
Email: andri.georgiadou@nottingham.ac.uk

· 4. Alain Chong
Professor in Information Systems
Nottingham University Business School China (NUBS China) and
Dean of Graduate School
University of Nottingham Ningbo China (UNNC)
China
E-mail: Alain.Chong@nottingham.edu.cn

· 5. Claas Christian Germelmann
Chair for Marketing & Consumer Behavior
Universität Bayreuth
Universitätsstraße 30
(Gebäude RWI, Zimmer 1.0 02 163)
95447 Bayreuth
E-mail: claas.christian.germelmann@uni-bayreuth.de


18 Jul 202031 Jul 2022

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