Advantages and disadvantages of video conferencing and direct interaction: a conceptual framework for evaluating hybrid work models

Marianne Thejls Ziegler, Christoph Lütge

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Purpose: This study aims to analyse the differences between professional interaction mediated by video conferencing and direct professional interaction. The research identifies diverging interests of office workers for the purpose of addressing work ethical and business ethical issues of professional collaboration, competition, and power in future hybrid work models. Design/methodology/approach: Based on 28 qualitative interviews conducted between November 2020 and June 2021, and through the theoretical lens of phenomenology, the study develops explanatory hypotheses conceptualising four basic intentions of professional interaction and their corresponding preferences for video conferences and working on site. Findings: The four intentions developed on the basis of the interviews are: the need for physical proximity; the challenge of collective creativity; the will to influence; and control of communication. This conceptual framework qualifies a moral ambivalence of professional interaction. The authors identify a connectivity paradox of professional interaction where the personal dimension remains unarticulated for the purpose of maintaining professionality. This tacit human connectivity is intertwined with latent power relations. This plasticity of both connectivity and power in direct interaction can be diminished by transferring the interaction to video conferencing. Originality/value: The application of phenomenology to a collection of qualitative interviews has enabled the identification of underlying intention structures and the system in which they affect each other. This research identifies conflicts of interests between workers relative to their different self-perceived abilities to persevere in competitive professional interaction. It is therefore able to address consequences of future hybrid work models at an existential and societal level.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Ethics and Systems
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2024

Keywords

  • Face-to-face communication
  • Flexible work arrangements (FWA)
  • Intercorporeality
  • Mediated communication
  • Organisational hierarchies
  • Phenomenology
  • Professional interaction
  • Social isolation
  • Video conferences
  • Work from home (WFH)

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