No e-asy solution
: e-working change: a case study exploring the increasing use of e-working in a local authority

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    As a theoretical contribution to the body of knowledge, e-working is conceptualised in and by this study to be both a way of being a worker and the way, or mechanism, for carrying out the work task. It is a conceptualisation which responds to the indeterminacy, dynamism and unfolding nature of e-working in the contemporary context. This study takes a local government focus, using a single case study. The chosen case is a local authority which perceives itself as an 'exemplar' with regard to operational practice despite, at the point of examination, having only recently acknowledged the need to make active use of e-working practices; practices which are common elsewhere. This study provides empirical, theoretical and methodological contributions.
    Theoretical contribution is primarily offered through a new and more effective conceptualisation of e-working. This conceptualisation, derived from an analysis of the existing literature, is used to investigate the experience of e-working change in a local authority context during a period of significant e-working change (Research Objective 1), resulting in the theorising of the implications of e-working change for managing and working in contemporary local authority organisations (Research Objective 2). Subsequent to this, reflections on use of the processual approach are also provided.
    In using the empirical data to build a rounded picture of the e-working change experience, and by endeavouring to use a 'pure' plurivocal approach, this study establishes what the participants perceive as causing their operational environment to be changed through the increasing use of e-working; their perception of the nature of e-working change; and what influences their experience of the e-working change process. Through the adoption of a processual approach to understanding organisational change allied to a plurivocal stance (reflection on endeavouring to apply a 'pure' plurivocal approach and explanation as to why researchers may be tending to use alternative or variant methodologies being presented as a methodological contribution) this study provides a better understanding of e-working change in organisations as a process: one that acknowledges its indeterminacy, dynamism and unfolding nature.
    The study identifies the key points of the e-working change experience relate to the work location; working agenda; living with the unknown; resourcing of change; culture and the issue of trust; and the communicative approach. Amongst the theorised findings is identification of the need to manage perceptions of vulnerability, especially in the light of cost saving intentions, as well as the need to question the applicability and influence of an historical approach. With communication reasoned to reflect honesty within the organisation, the requirement to clarify expectations and make effort to understand and respond to reluctant engagement, as well as responding to (e-)socialisation requirements, are identified.
    Date of Award2016
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • University of Portsmouth
    SupervisorSarah Gilmore (Supervisor) & Stephen Williams (Supervisor)

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