‘Fit’ for telework’? Cross-cultural variance and task-control explanations in organizations’ formal telework practices

Pascale Peters, Paul E.M. Ligthart, Elizabeth Anne Bardoel, Erik Poutsma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

46 Citations (Scopus)


This study investigates how nation-level cultural values (‘individualism’ and ‘collectivism’) and intra-organizational task control mechanisms influence the level of organizations’ use of formal telework practices. Employing a multi-level analysis on survey data (2009/10), including 1577 organizations within 18 nations, we found that ‘high use of formal telework practices in organizations’ was more likely when: (1) organizations operated in nations characterized by strong national values; and when they employed (2) ‘hard’ indirect controls (i.e. individual performance-related pay and 360º performance-evaluations). High telework use was less likely when organizations employed direct controls (i.e. higher proportions of managers) and ‘soft’ indirect controls (i.e. higher proportions of professionals). ‘Low use of formal telework practices’ was more likely when organizations employed ‘soft’ indirect controls. Our findings suggest that national cultural values can function as ‘soft’ indirect controls to mitigate the ‘telework risk’ of high levels of telework practices. Internal ‘soft’ task controls only sufficed for managing low levels of telework practices. We discuss the smart and dark sides of telework and how these relate to the management of telework practice. Implications for future telework research and practices are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2582-2603
Number of pages22
JournalInternational Journal of Human Resource Management
Issue number21
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • collectivism
  • cultural values
  • individualism
  • multilevel analysis
  • task control mechanisms
  • telework management
  • telework practices

Cite this