An investigation of the relationships between social contact (telework) and job satisfaction : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in Psychology at Massey University
The present study aimed to examine the relationship between the social contact and job satisfaction of teleworkers. Telecommunications and computer technology has enabled the development of work arrangements that allow employees to perform their work at home. This is the basic premise of telework, that work can be conducted away from the office using computers and telecommunications technology to transmit and receive work. Although surveys and anecdotal evidence indicate that social isolation is one of the major reported drawbacks of telework especially for women, there have been no in-depth studies investigating this. It has also been speculated that personality, especially introversion, may be related to workers being satisfied with telework and that having a mentor reduces the social isolation of teleworkers but again, no investigation has been carried out to examine these claims. Seventy-six subjects (35 males and 41 females) answered a self-report questionnaire. Correlational analyses were carried out and findings suggest that the first hypothesis that telework involves low social contact and is not satisfying, was only partially supported. Results indicate that there is only a moderate relationship between job satisfaction and the quality of social contact. The second hypothesis that females would not be satisfied with telework because females have a greater affiliative need was not supported. In fact, it was reverse was found the relationship between social contact and job satisfaction was stronger for male teleworkers. The third hypothesis that extroverts will not be satisfied with telework was supported, the relationship between the quantity of all social contact and job satisfaction was stronger for extroverts than introverts. The fourth hypothesis that telework will be satisfying for those with a mentor could not be investigated due to lack of data. It was concluded that the relationship between social contact and job satisfaction was not as strong for teleworkers as speculated which means that social isolation may not be as great a problem as suggested. However, the small sample size limits the ability to generalise the results to the population and further research needs to be done to develop more sensitive measures for social contact and telework.