The general objective of the research project was to identify a set of organizational factors that can positively influence the effective implementation of innovative models of distributed work, enabled by modern information technology and telecommunications. To this end, the research was aimed at identifying operational solutions and developing guidelines for entrepreneurs and business executives with regard to the ways in which to face some managerial challenges arising from the adoption of models of remote work, including, in particular, that relating to organizational control. This, in fact, is one of the main obstacles to the adoption of this technological and organisational innovation, especially by small and medium-sized Italian companies.
The research activities carried out were divided into 4 main phases:
– definition of the theoretical conceptual framework related to remote work models (teleworking, mobile work, virtual teams, smart working)
– cataloguing of distributed work experiences mediated by ICT in order to deepen managerial and organizational aspects that emerged as particularly critical from the previous phase.
– case studies in some Italian companies that have implemented remote work models mediated by ICT (teleworking, mobile work, virtual teams).
– development of scientific guidelines and dissemination.
The analysis of the scientific literature on ICT-based distance work models and the conduct of case studies in some Italian countries that have adopted such models has allowed the identification of a series of organizational and managerial factors that can influence the effective implementation of such models. In particular, the analysis of the literature has allowed:
– the elaboration of conceptual frameworks for the process-oriented analysis of organizational control in remote work contexts based on the use of ICT;
– the creation of a catalogue of exemplary cases of companies that have adopted remote work models based on ICT with the identification, for each of them, of a series of tools, practices and organisational control processes implemented both top-down (referable to management actions) and bottom-up (therefore referable to workers’ actions).
The analysis of the case studies also allowed:
– Identification of the changes recorded in the instruments (e.g. behavioural control and control by objectives) and levers of organisational control (e.g. leadership, trust, etc.) following the adoption of virtual forms of work, the main critical issues deriving from their use and the impacts produced on individuals and on the organisation.
The objective of raising the awareness of Italian organizations, and in particular small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), towards the adoption of new organizational models that use technology to manage remote work was pursued through a precise strategy of dissemination of results based on participation in meetings entrepreneurs and managers of staff, and the publication of a manual that, with an operational slant, reports the overall results of the research.