Uncertainty in the external environmental context has been shown to affect organizational change and innovation. Distributed work arrangement is an organizational innovation that has the potential to enable a firm to meet the challenges of an uncertain environment more effectively. This exploratory study employs a structural model to examine how environmental uncertainty affects organizational predisposition (adoption intention) toward distributed work arrangements through shaping organizational perceptions of distributed work arrangements (perceived relative advantage, compatibility and complexity). Environmental uncertainty is assessed in terms of environmental complexity and variability. Data analyses using partial least squares statistical technique revealed that environmental complexity is negatively associated with perceived relative advantage and perceived compatibility, which were in turn positively related to adoption intention for distributed work arrangements. Contrary to past findings, which suggest that distributed work arrangements could help organizations respond better to uncertain conditions in the environment, our study found that decision-makers operating in complex environments do not perceive distributed work arrangements as beneficial and compatible. The results suggest that these organizations could strive to develop expertise to deal with their complex environments by increasing their information processing capacity, thereby enhancing their perceptions of the benefits and compatibility of distributed work arrangements.
Sia, Choon-Ling; Teo, Hock-Hai; Tan, Bernard; and Wei, Kwok-Kee, "Examining Environmental Influences on Organizational Perceptions and Predisposition Toward Distributed Work Arrangements: A Path Model" (1998). ICIS 1998 Proceedings. 9.