Thinking Outside the Office: The Impact of Virtual Work on Creative Workers’ Attitudes

Thinking Outside the Office: The Impact of Virtual Work on Creative Workers’ Attitudes

Beth A. Rubin (University of North Carolina – Charlotte, USA) and April J. Spivack (University of North Carolina – Charlotte, USA)
Copyright: © 2012 |Pages: 19
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-0963-1.ch004


This chapter draws on labor process theory and builds on a previous paper by Spivack and Rubin (2011) that explored workplace factors that might diminish the autonomy of creative knowledge workers. Using data from the National Study of the Changing Workforce, this chapter tests hypotheses linking creative workers’ ability to work virtually, control their task and temporal autonomy to their well-being, job satisfaction, and commitment. The authors find that creative workers that have spatial autonomy have more positive work attitudes and better mental health. Further, they show that along with task and temporal autonomy, the conditions of the new workplace make spatial autonomy an important consideration. These findings contribute both to literature about the changing workplace and to practitioners concerned with maximizing the well-being of creative knowledge workers.
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The shift from manufacturing to service and knowledge production in the past several decades has transformed the type of worker that is increasingly important to the contemporary economy. Rather than brawn and physical prowess, high levels of human capital (education, training, and skills) and new kinds of skills prevail (Stewart, 1997). Increasingly, whether in high performance blue collar work (Applebaum & Batt, 1994) or white collar service and knowledge work, employees with “soft skills” and creativity are central to organizational success (Moss & Tilly, 1996; Mumford, 2000).

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