Investigation into telecommuting and its impact on innovation | Business Dissertation

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This study seeks to explore the relationship between high-tech firms, innovation, and the teleworking trend. Specifically, an examination of the high-technology sector in the UK is provided, followed by explanations of teleworking, innovation, and high-tech firms as they relate to the scope and focus of this study.  The above is based on published findings of empirical research and published reports.  This study then considers how teleworking has impacted innovation at the Intel Corporation, a leading manufacturer of semiconductors who allows employees in certain positions to telework part or all of their workweek.  Innovation and impact are considered at an overall corporate level, rather than at an individual level..

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Findings of this research indicate that teleworking one to two dayseach week has no discernibly negative impact on innovation, and mayactually enhance innovation, provided systems to encourage andfacilitate innovation are in place.  Implications for organisationsentering the teleworking arena and the sector as a whole are followed by recommendations for high-tech companies and for future research.

Teleworking is a cultural trend in much of Europe and theAmericas.  While it provides many plusses and a few minuses to theindividual teleworkers, its impact on organisations and particularlyinnovation at those organisations has not been sufficiently explored. This study seeks to consider the impact teleworking has onorganisations, specifically high-technology organisations, and theirability to generate, initiate, and implement innovative products,processes and administrative ideas.

A review of previously published findings related to teleworking,innovation, and high-technology is provided, covering these topics ingeneral.  The focus of the study then narrows, addressing organisationsthat both use and produce high-tech products or services, and finallyconcentrating on innovation in the computer hardware and softwaresector.  Ideas and conclusions from these studies are then combinedwith information from Intel Corporation, a leading manufacturer ofsemi-conductors and similar computer products, to analyse the specificimpact of teleworking at Intel. 

It is hoped the conclusions drawn from Intel’s experiences will beuseful to other high-tech firms practicing or considering teleworking,as well as encourage others to pursue related research.

High-technology has evolved in the past thirty years from something outof a science fiction novel to part of the average Britain’s everydaylife.  The UK contributes over 5% of the world’s research anddevelopment, although it has less than one percent of the world’spopulation.   The UK additionally has the larges software and computerservices sector in the EU, and a significant semiconductor industry(Anon 2005).  From Bristol, at the end of the M4 hi-tech corridor, toSheffield, where software has replaced steel, to the hi-tech centres inCambridge and Hertfordshire, high-tech is replacing and revitalisingthe declining UK industrial sector.

It is important to note that the high-tech sector differs in severaldistinct ways from other sectors of the economy.  First, the speed atwhich technology changes is simply unmatched in other productionsectors. 

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