The Utilization of Affordances in Boundary Management When Working from Home

Lærke Lemb Ebbenæs & Sofie Dürr Markmann

Student thesis: Master thesis

Abstract

This thesis aims to understand the impact mobile technology has on managing the boundaries of work and private spheres. The evolution of mobile technology has freed work from its geographical constraints, enabling the employees to work anytime, anywhere. This change in nature of work may lead to boundaries between the work and private spheres becoming blurred and, therefore, require management by the employees. By conducting an interpretive study using a single case study as our research approach, this thesis aim to provide an answer to our research question, regarding the understanding of “How are mobile technology’s affordances implicated in work-life boundary management, of working from home?”. The research question has been answered while experiencing the extreme circumstances of COVID-19, which forced employees to work from home. We have used IBM Denmark as the case company for our single case study and have chosen qualitative research that consists of semi-structured interviews as our primary data to answer our research question. Our thesis investigates five affordances of mobile technologies: mobility, availability, professionality, social connectivity, and efficiency. The utilization of the affordances provided led to our respondents becoming able to manage physical, behavioral, and psychological boundaries to separate their work and private spheres. By applying the concept of affordances and theorizing how the individual’s environment and actions affect the possibilities that mobile technology provides them, we were able to see the implications that mobile technology has on the management of work-life boundaries. Our findings show that the environment of the individual has a role in how the individual utilizes mobile technologies and the possibilities they obtain when engaging with them. Our project shows how mobile workers utilize the possibilities provided for them when engaging with mobile technologies and, thereby, produce affordances and incorporate them in their management of work-life boundaries.

EducationsMSc in Business Administration and Information Systems, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
LanguageEnglish
Publication date2021
Number of pages262
SupervisorsStig Nyman Christiansen