A Meta-Analytic Approach to Telework and Work-Nonwork-Conflict : 20 Years of Asking "If" not "How"

The goal of this study was to investigate the relationship between telework and the intensity of work-nonwork-conflict (WNC) and nonwork-work-conflict (NWC) with a meta-analytical approach. We searched for possible moderators for this relationship in particular. In a random-effects-model, we analyzed 29 correlational studies (N = 73,647) with 43 effect sizes that included a range of domain conflict types shown by teleworkers, including work-family-conflict (WFC) but also broader concepts. Additionally, we checked the primary studies for moderators using the resources-demands-model (Schaufeli & Bakker, 2004) as our theoretical framework. Moderators that could be extracted included Support, Children, Boundary Management, Total Work Time and Flextime. Results in the primary studies as well as measurement approaches in this fragmented field of research were very divergent. We found no significant effect for the relation between WNC and telework (ρ = 0.039), or NWC (ρ = 0.025). Also, we were not able to find significant moderators or study characteristics to explain the variability between the studies. There was no meta-analytic evidence for the mentioned relation. Because the primary studies itself show small effects, we argue that those effects might depend on situational and psychological variables, which were barely researched. Therefore effects of telework cannot be explained by top-level-variables and there is a need for research on those variables to make recommendations for practitioners.

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