Date of Award


Degree Name

PhD Leadership Studies

Dissertation Committee

Fred J. Galloway, EdD; Lea A. Hubbard, PhD George E. Reed, PhD


empirical study, isolation, Leadership studies, managers, Myers-Briggs personality type, promotional opportunities, telecommuting, work-life balance


The concept of telecommuting dates to the early 1970s when Dr. Jack Nilles, who coined the phrase telecommuting, realized that many of the commuters contributing to rush-hour traffic congestion simply went to an office, sat at a desk and used a phone to conduct their business. Since then, telecommuting has become a viable alternative work arrangement for approximately 45 million individuals in the United States. Despite the popularity of this arrangement, there has been little empirical work done to investigate the advantages and challenges associated with telecommuters; to address this issue this dissertation used two survey instruments to electronically gather data from a sample of 137 telecommuters that described both the advantages and challenges associated with this type of work as well as the extent to which variation in these challenges could be explained by demographic measures and the individual's Myers-Briggs personality type. Results from the surveys revealed that for this group of telecommuters the greatest advantages were flexibility/work life balance and increased productivity, while the greatest challenges were being offered promotional opportunities and feelings of isolation. Regression analysis also revealed the importance of organizational size, telecommuting intensity, and personality type in explaining variation in the challenges that telecommuters experienced; specifically, four personality types were associated with greater challenges. These Myers-Briggs types – ENFP, ESFP, INFJ, and INTP – were associated with increased challenges in several areas; for example, ENFP's experienced greater challenges in terms of being offered promotional opportunities and in relationships with their managers, while INFJ's struggled with increased challenges in the areas of relationships with managers and co-workers and with feelings of isolation. In addition to personality type, telecommuting intensity and individuals from small organizations found telecommuting to be more challenging than others. Taken together, the results of this research could impact both the formation and delivery of telecommuting policies and programs for many organizations. For example, knowing that four specific personality types experience greater challenges in some areas of telecommuting than others allows managers to more efficiently target assistance. In this manner, telecommuter training could be enhanced both for telecommuters and the managers of the virtual workforce.

Document Type

Dissertation: Open Access


Leadership Studies