Professional isolation and inclusion in remote working during Pandemic in Italy

Journal title PRISMA Economia - Società - Lavoro
Author/s Micol Bronzini, Enrico Cori, Daria Sarti, Teresina Torre
Publishing Year 2023 Issue 2022/1-2 Language Italian
Pages 22 P. 68-89 File size 344 KB
DOI 10.3280/PRI2022-001005
DOI is like a bar code for intellectual property: to have more infomation click here

Below, you can see the article first page

If you want to buy this article in PDF format, you can do it, following the instructions to buy download credits

Article preview

FrancoAngeli is member of Publishers International Linking Association, Inc (PILA), a not-for-profit association which run the CrossRef service enabling links to and from online scholarly content.

During the “hard” lockdown, remote work emerged as the “new way” of working. The solutions adopted, abruptly and often without adequate preparation, represent a precious opportunity for organizational scholars to explore very relevant issues. In this paper, the themes of inclusion and isolation are addressed. We integrate frameworks focused exclusively on remote work outcomes with those focused on managerial practices resulting from its adoption. The focus is on the relationships between some of the dimensions relating to implementation – coordination and control tools and social support processes – and the employees’ perceptions of isolation and/or inclusion. Data collected through a quantitative survey, carried out immediately after the end of the first lockdown (March-May 2020) on a sample of 254 remote workers inserted in hierarchically structured contexts, are analyzed. The results of the analysis show that both output control and coordination tools, as well as organizational and co-workers’ support, reinforce the sense of belonging, thus positively orienting the relationship between remote work experience and the perception of inclusion. The research reaffirms the criticality of the design choices of the coordination and control systems in favoring high levels of inclusion, but at the same time highlights the limits of the design action, which needs to be integrated by an effort aimed at promoting social support at work.

Keywords: Remote work, Professional isolation, Inclusion, Coordination and control, Social support, COVID-19 pandemic

  1. Roberson Q.M. (2006) “Disentangling the meanings of diversity and inclusion in organizations”, Group & organization management, 31(2), pp. 212-236.
  2. Albano R., Parisi T., Tirabeni L. (2019) “Gli smart workers tra solitudine e collaborazione”, Cambio, Rivista sulle trasformazioni sociali, 9(17), pp. 61-73.
  3. Allen T.D., Golden T.D., Shockley K.M. (2015) “How effective is telecommuting? Assessing the status of our scientific findings”, Psychological science in the public interest, 16(2), pp. 40-68; DOI: 10.1177/1529100615593273
  4. Antonacopoulou E.P., Georgiadou A. (2021) “Leading through social distancing: The future of work, corporations and leadership from home”, Gender, work & organization, 28(2), pp. 749-76;
  5. Bartsch S., Weber E., Büttgen M., Huber A. (2020) “Leadership matters in crisis-induced digital transformation: how to lead service employees effectively during the COVID-19 pandemic”, Journal of Service Management, 32(1), pp. 71-85. DOI: 10.1108/JOSM-05-2020-0160
  6. Belle S.M., Burley D.L., Long S.D. (2015) “Where do I belong? High-intensity teleworkers’ experience of organizational belonging”, Human Resource Development International, 18(1), pp. 76-96.
  7. Bentley T.A., Teo S.T.T., McLeod L., Tan F., Bosua R., Gloet M. (2016) “The role of organisational support in teleworker wellbeing: A socio-technical systems approach”, Applied ergonomics, 52, pp. 207-215;
  8. Boekhorst J.A. (2015) “The role of authentic leadership in fostering workplace inclusion: A social information processing perspective”, Human resource management, 54(2), pp. 241-264,
  9. Carnevale J.B., Hatak I. (2020) “Employee adjustment and well-being in the era of COVID-19: Implications for human resource management”, Journal of business research, 116, pp. 183-187,
  10. Chiaro G., Prati G., Zocca M. (2015) “Smart working: dal lavoro flessibile al lavoro agile”, Sociologia del lavoro, 138, pp. 69-87.
  11. CGIL – Fondazione Di Vittorio (2020) Quando lavorare da casa è… Smart? Prima indagine sullo smart working, 28(5).
  12. Charoensukmongkol P., Phungsoonthorn T. (2020) “The effectiveness of supervisor support in lessening perceived uncertainties and emotional exhaustion of university employees during the COVID-19 crisis: the constraining role of organizational intransigence”, The Journal of general psychology, 148(4), pp. 1-20, DOI: 10.1080/00221309.2020.1795613
  13. Collins A.M., Hislop, D. Cartwright, S. (2016) Social support in the workplace between teleworkers, office‐based colleagues and supervisors, New technology, work and employment, 31(2), pp. 161-175;
  14. Cooper C.D., Kurland N.B. (2002) Telecommuting, professional isolation, and employee development in public and private organizations, Journal of Organizational Behavior, 23, pp. 511-532.
  15. Cori E, Sarti D., Torre T. (2021) How smart organizations should be in facing a crisis? Enhancing positive attitudes of remote workers during the pandemic, Proceedings WOA 2021, Organizing for what? Meaning and purpose in human action, Genova, 10-11 Settembre.
  16. Dery K., Hafermalz E. (2016) Seeing Is Belonging: Remote Working, Identity and Staying Connected. In: Lee, J. (eds), The Impact of ICT on Work. Springer: Singapore. DOI: 10.1007/978-981-287-612-6_6
  17. Diekema D.A. (1992) “Aloneness and social form”, Symbolic interaction, 15(4), pp. 481-500.
  18. Downes R. (2020) The Proximity Paradox: How Distributed Work Affects Relationships and Control, Proceedings of the 53rd Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences, 7-10th January, Maui, Hawaii, HICSS.
  19. Eisenberger R., Huntington R., Hutchison S., Sowa D. (1986) “Perceived organizational support”, Journal of applied psychology, 71(3): 500-507. DOI: 10.1037/0021-9010.71.3.500
  20. Errichiello L., Pianese T. (2016) Organizational Control in the Context of Remote Work Arrangements: a Conceptual Framework, in Widener S., Epstein M., Verbeeten F. (eds), Performance Measurement and Management Control: Contemporary Issues, Emerald group Publishing.
  21. Errichiello L., Pianese T. (2021) The Role of Organizational Support in Effective Remote Work Implementation in the Post-COVID Era, in Whealtley, D., Hardill, I., Buglass, S. (eds.), The Handbook of Research on Remote Work and Worker Well-Being in the Post-COVID-19, IGI Global, 221-242.
  22. Feldman D.C., Gainey T.W. (1997) “Patterns of telecommuting and their consequences: Framing the research agenda”, Human resource management review, 7(4), pp. 369-388; DOI: 10.1177/0149206305279602.
  23. Foss N.J., Lyngsie J., Zahra S.A. (2013) “The role of external knowledge sources and organizational design in the process of opportunity exploitation”, Strategic management journal, 34(12), pp. 1453-1471,
  24. FPA (2020), Strategie individuali e organizzative di risposta all’emergenza. Un bilancio dello smart working nella pubblica amministrazione nella fase di lockdown, --
  25. Fritz M.B.W., Narasimhan S., Rhee H.S. (1998) “Communication and coordination in the virtual office”, Journal of Management information systems, 14(4), pp. 7-28; DOI: 10.1080/07421222.1998.11518184
  26. Fuchs S., Prouska R. (2014) “Creating positive employee change evaluation: The role of different levels of organizational support and change participation”, Journal of change management, 14(3), pp. 361-383, DOI: 10.1080/14697017.2014.885460
  27. Golden T.D., Veiga J.F., Dino R.N. (2008) “The impact of professional isolation on teleworker job performance and turnover intentions: Does time spent teleworking, interacting face-to-face, or having access to communication-enhancing technology matter?”, Journal of applied psychology, 93(6), pp. 1412-1421,
  28. Jansen W.S., Otten S., van der Zee K.I., Jans L. (2014) “Inclusion: Conceptualization and measurement”, European journal of social psychology, 44(4), pp. 370-385,
  29. Kottke J.L., Sharafinski C.E. (1988) “Measuring perceived supervisory and organizational support”, Educational and Psychological Measurement, 48, pp. 1075-1079.
  30. Kurland N.B., Cooper C.D. (2002) “Manager control and employee isolation in telecommuting environments”, The journal of high technology management research, 13(1), pp. 107-126; DOI: 10.1016/S1047-8310(01)00051-7
  31. Kurland N.B., Egan T.D. (1999) “Telecommuting: Justice and Control in the Virtual Organization”, Organization Science, 10(4), pp. 500-513.
  32. Mor Barak E. M., Findler L., Wind L.H. (2016) “Diversity, inclusion, and commitment in organizations: International empirical explorations”, Journal of behavioral and applied management, 2(2), pp. 71-96.
  33. Morganson V.J., Major D.A., Oborn K.L., Verive J.M., Heelan M.P. (2010) “Comparing telework locations and traditional work arrangements: Differences in work‐life balance support, job satisfaction, and inclusion”, Journal of managerial psychology, 25(6), pp. 578-595, DOI: 10.1108/02683941011056941
  34. Nomisma (2020). The world after lockdown, --
  35. Orhan M.A., Rijsman J.B., Van Dijk G.M. (2016) “Invisible, therefore isolated: Comparative effects of team virtuality with task virtuality on workplace isolation and work outcomes”, Revista de psicología del trabajo y de las organizaciones, 32(2), pp. 109-122;
  36. Politecnico di Milano (2020). Dallo Smart Working d’emergenza al New Normal: nuove abitudini e nuovi approcci al lavoro, --
  37. Postmes T, Haslam S.A, Jans L. (2013) “A single-item measure of social identification: reliability, validity, and utility”, British Journal of Social Psychology, 52(4), pp. 597-617;
  38. Rhoades L., Eisenberger R. (2002) “Perceived organizational support: A review of the literature”, Journal of Applied Psychology, 87, pp. 698-714.
  39. Richter A. (2020) “Locked-down digital work”, International Journal of Information Management, 55, pp. 102-157.
  40. Rudolph C.W., Allan B., Clark M., Hertel G., Hirschi A., Kunze F., Shockley K., Shoss M., Sonnentag S., Zacher H. (2021) “Pandemics: Implications for Research and Practice in Industrial and Organizational Psychology”, Industrial and Organizational Psychology: Perspectives on Science and Practice, 14(1-2), pp. 1-35.
  41. Salganik M.J., Heckathorn D.D. (2004) “Sampling and estimation in hidden populations using respondent‐driven sampling”, Sociological methodology, 34(1), pp. 193-240.
  42. Selart M., Johansen S.T., Nesse S. (2013) “Employee Reactions to Leader-Initiated Crisis Preparation: Core Dimensions”, Journal of Business Ethics, 116.
  43. Sewell G., Taskin L. (2015) “Out of sight, out of mind in a new world of work? Autonomy, control, and spatiotemporal scaling in telework”, Organization studies, 36(11), pp. 1507-1529, DOI: 10.1177/0170840615593587
  44. Shore L.M., Randel A.E., Chung B.G., Dean M.A., Holcombe Ehrhart K., Singh G. (2011) “Inclusion and diversity in work groups: A review and model for future research”, Journal of management, 37(4), pp. 1262-1289; DOI: 10.1177/0149206310385943
  45. Taha L.H., Caldwell B.S. (1993) “Social isolation and integration in electronic environments”, Behaviour & Information Technology, 12(5), pp. 276-283.
  46. Teo T.S., Lim V.K., Wai S.H. (1998) “An empirical study of attitudes towards teleworking among information technology (IT) personnel”, International journal of information management, 18(5), pp. 329-343.
  47. Toniolo-Barrios M., Pitt L. (2021) “Mindfulness and the challenges of working from home in times of crisis”, Business horizons, 64(2), pp. 189-197.
  48. Torre T., Sarti D. (2019) Themes and trends in Smart Working research. A systematic analysis of academic contributions, in: Imperatori, B., Bissola, R. (eds,), HRM 4.0 for Human-centered Organizations, Emerald Publishing, DOI: 10.1108/S1877-636120190000023004
  49. Torre T., Sarti D. (2020) Innovative approaches to work organization and new technologies. First insight from the Italian context, in: Bagdadi, Y., Harfouche, A., Russo, M. (eds.), ICT for an inclusive world, Industry 4.0 - Towards the smart enterprise, Lecture Notes in Information Systems and Organisation, Springer, DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-34269-2_11
  50. Wang B., Liu Y., Qian J., Parker S. K. (2021) “Achieving effective remote working during the COVID‐19 pandemic: A work design perspective”. Applied psychology, 70(1), pp. 16-59,
  51. Wanous J.P., Reichers A.E., Hudy M.J. (1997) “Overall Job Satisfaction: How Good Are Single-Item Measures?”, Journal of Applied Psychology, 82, pp. 247-252, DOI: 10.1037/0021-9010.82.2.247
  52. Wayne S.J., Shore L.M., Liden R.C. (1997) “Perceived organizational support and leader-member exchange: A social exchange perspective”, Academy of management journal, 40(1), pp. 82-111.
  53. Weibel A., Den Hartog D.N., Gillespie N., Searle R., Six F., Skinner D. (2016) “How do controls impact employee trust in the employer?”, Human resource management, 55(3), pp. 437-462,
  54. Wheeler A.R., Shanine K.K., Leon M.R., Whitman M.V. (2014) “Student-recruited samples in organizational research: A review, analysis, and guidelines for future research”, Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 87(1), pp. 1-26,

Micol Bronzini, Enrico Cori, Daria Sarti, Teresina Torre, Isolamento professionale e inclusione nell’esperienza del lavoro da remoto durante la pandemia in Italia in "PRISMA Economia - Società - Lavoro" 1-2/2022, pp 68-89, DOI: 10.3280/PRI2022-001005