Virtual mobility and the lonely cloud: theorizing the mobility-isolation paradox for self-employed knowledge-workers in the online home-based business context

Elizabeth Daniel, MariaLaura Di Domenico, Daniel Nunan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

We advance both mobility and paradox theorizing by advocating the new concepts of ‘mobility‐isolation paradox’ and ‘paradoxical imagination’. These emerged from examining the nuanced, multifaceted conceptualizations of the mobility‐isolation tensions facing home‐based, self‐employed, online knowledge‐workers. We thereby enhance current conceptual understandings of mobility, isolation and paradox by analyzing knowledge‐workers’ interrelated, multidimensional experiences within restrictive home‐based working contexts. We compare the dearth of research and theorizing about these autonomous online knowledge‐workers with that available about other types of knowledge‐workers, such as online home‐based employees, and the more physically/corporeally mobile self‐employed. This research into an increasingly prevalent knowledge‐worker genre addresses these knowledge gaps by analyzing home‐based knowledge‐workers’ views, and tensions from paradoxical pressures to be corporeally mobile and less isolated. Despite enjoying career, mental and virtual mobility through internet‐connectedness, they were found to seek face‐to‐face social and/or professional interactions, their isolation engendering loneliness, despite their solitude paradoxically often fostering creativity and innovation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)174-203
Number of pages30
JournalJournal of Management Studies
Volume55
Issue number1
Early online date13 Oct 2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018

Keywords

  • Home-Based Online Businesses
  • Self-employment
  • Paradox Theory
  • Mobility
  • Knowledge-Worker
  • Isolation

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