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Date of Award

1997

Document Type

Thesis - Pacific Access Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)

Department

Communication

First Advisor

Carol Ann Hackley

First Committee Member

Kenneth Day

Second Committee Member

Jon Schamber

Abstract

Innovations in computer technologies have provided the ability to access information from all over the world by the stroke of a finger. These technologies have given birth to the growing practice of telecommuting. There is much research available on telecommuting. However, there is a lack of research on this phenomenon in the public relations sector. This study seeks to fill this void by investigating the telecommuting behaviors of public relations professionals and providing a foundation from which further studies can be built.

Survey questionnaires were completed by 122 Public Relations Society of America members. The questionnaires contained measures regarding perceived relative advantages of telecommuting, demographic variables, and telecommuting behavior.

There were many important findings from the study. Interestingly, telecommuting is in the late majority phase of the diffusion process. It is also gender related. Surprisingly, this study found more men are likely to telecommute than women.

Certain variables were found to be associated with telecommuting. Specifically, selfemployed individuals and those with more years in PR were more likely to telecommute. Most of the PR professionals who reported telecommuting did so in an unstructured manner. The main reason reported for telecommuting was to complete their unfinished work from the office.

The majority of PR professionals did view telecommuting as valuable. However, here were differences in the perceptions of relative advantages with full- or part-time telecommuting. The advantages of full-time telecommuting only appeared to be attractive to those individuals who presently telecommute.

Over two-thirds of the respondents who did not telecommute were found to be interested in telecommuting on a part-time basis. And most PR professionals, whether telecommuter or not, believed telecommuting will become a standard practice in the future.

Pages

102

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