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            This paper reviews international trends and associated issues of telework (work that is performed remote from clients or employers assisted by electronic communication facilities). It examines whether telework in New Zealand is following reported trends and concludes that the forces driving telework in New Zealand are different from those elsewhere, for structural reasons which are described. The results of a small survey of New Zealand teleworkers suggest that the growth of teleworking in New Zealand is among professional and technical workers with scarce skills or in small innovative home-based businesses. The implications of these findings for New Zealand's future development are discussed.


            Author and article information

            Critical Studies in Innovation
            Pluto Journals
            June 1993
            : 11
            : 1
            : 45-60
            8629135 Prometheus, Vol. 11, No. 1, 1993: pp. 45–60
            Copyright Taylor & Francis Group, LLC

            All content is freely available without charge to users or their institutions. Users are allowed to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of the articles in this journal without asking prior permission of the publisher or the author. Articles published in the journal are distributed under a http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.

            Page count
            Figures: 0, Tables: 0, References: 54, Pages: 16
            Original Articles

            Computer science,Arts,Social & Behavioral Sciences,Law,History,Economics
            remote work,telework,workplace reorganisaton,telecommuting,information technology


            1. J. Wood, Sydney Graduate School of Management, keynote speaker at the Government Technology Event ‘92 conference.

            2. J. H. Foegen, ‘The menace of high tech employment’, The Futurist, September-October, 1987, pp. 38–40.

            3. Naisbett J.. 1982. . Megatrends: Ten New Directions Transforming Our Lives. . , New York : : Warner Books. .

            4. Steinle W. J.. 1988. . “‘Telework: opening remarks on an open debate’. ”. In Telework: Present Situation and Future Development of a New Form of Work Organisation. . , Edited by: Korte W. B., Robinson S. and Steinle W. J.. p. 8 Amsterdam : : Elsevier Science Publishers. .

            5. International Labour Office, Conditions of Work Digest: Telework. Volume 9:1, Geneva, 1990, pp. 7–8.

            6. Morris-Suzuki T.. 1988. . ‘The ‘communications revolution’ and the household: some thoughts from the Japanese experience’. . Prometheus . , Vol. 6((2)): 243

            7. J. M. Nilles, J. F. Carlson, P. Gray and G. Hammerman, Telecommunications Transportation Trade-offs, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, 1974. In an endorsement of telecommuting former President George Bush noted in an address to members of the California Chamber of Commerce in 1990: “if just five per cent of commuters in Los Angeles county telecommuted one day each week, they'd save 205 million miles of travel each year and keep 47,000 tons of pollutants from entering the atmosphere”.

            8. R. Holti and E. Stern, Distance Working: Origins, Diffusion, Prospects, Commission of the European Communities — FAST Programme, Brussels, 1989, pp.43–6.

            9. International Labour Office, op.cit., p.5.

            10. J. Gregory, ‘Clerical workers and new office technologies’, in National Research Council, Office Workstations in the Home, National Academy Press, Washington, 1985. (cites 1981 data), p.120.

            11. W. Spinks, ‘Satellite and Resort Offices in Japan’ a paper presented to ‘Tomorrow's Workplace’: Teleworking Conference, Auckland, July 1991.

            12. International Labour Office, op.cit. p.18.

            13. Interview with N. Anderson, New Zealand Postal Workers Union, Radio New Zealand, Friday 5, April 1991. See also N. Armstrong ‘Outworking: A Return to the Sweatshop or the Electronic Cottage of the Future’, in S. Olssen (ed.), The Gender Factor: Women in New Zealand Organisations (in Press).

            14. S. Allen and C. Wolkowitz, Homeworking: Myths and Realities. Macmillan, London, 1987; K. Christensen, Women and Home-based work: The unspoken contract. Henry Holt, New York, 1988, pp. 1–6.

            15. Steinle, op.cit. p. 13.

            16. Monod E.. 1985. . “‘Telecommuting — a new word, but still the same old story’. ”. In Women, Work and Computerisation: Opportunities and Disadvantages . , Edited by: Olerup A., Schneider L. and Monod E.. p. 139 Amsterdam : : Elsevier Science Publishers. .

            17. Using fiber-optic cables and digital signals, IDN refers to a means of multi-transmission of images, sounds and data. ISDN (Integrated Services Digital Network) refers to a standardised international system which, it is hoped, will operate globally.

            18. Hedberg B. and Mehlmann M.. 1981. . Computer Power to the People: Computer Resource Centres or Home Terminals . , p. 4 Stockholm : : Swedish Center for Working Life Paper. .

            19. Huws U., Korte W. B. and Robinson S.. 1990. . Telework: Towards the Elusive Office . , p. 97 Chichester : : John Wiley and Sons. .

            20. H. Tng, Attitudes of Female Computer Professionals in Singapore toward Telecommuting, Department of Information Systems and Computer Science, National University of Singapore Technical Report, 1988, p.10.

            21. Huws et al., op.cit., pp.58–61, 119-20.

            22. B. Probert and J. Wacjman report that teleworkers in computer programming and systems analysis were predominantly men who worked at home out of preference for quiet surroundings and flexible working hours, ‘Technological change and the future of work’, Journal of Industrial Relations, September 1988, pp.432–448.

            23. Huws, et al., op.cit., p.104.

            24. Shirley S.. 1988. . “‘F International: a case study’. ”. In Telework: Present Situation and Future Development of a New Form of Work Organisation . , Edited by: Korte W. B., Robinson S. and Steinle W. J.. Amsterdam : : Elsevier Science Publishers. .

            25. Allen and Wolkowitz, op.cit.

            26. Monod warns that telework may be becoming a new form of “fancy work” — a means of occupying women stranded in their homes because they lack alternative options of childcare, op.cit., p.140.

            27. Morris-Suzuki, op.cit., p.242.

            28. Forester T.. 1988. . ‘The myth of the electronic cottage’. . Futures . , Vol. 20((3)) June;: 227––240. .

            29. Cited in Forester.

            30. A. Moyal, Women and the Telephone in Australia, A study prepared for Telecom Australia, April 1989, pp.30–2.

            31. International Labour Office, op.cit., p.128.

            32. Hedberg and Mehlmann, op.cit.

            33. The needs of women were identified by early research. See Hedberg and Mehlmann, opjcit.

            34. Harrison S. and Qvortup L.. 1989. . ‘Information service for rural communities: the telecottage project’. . Prometheus . , Vol. 7((2)): 303––315. .

            35. Horner D. and Reeve I.. 1991. . Telecottages: The Potential for Rural Australia . , Armidale : : The Rural Development Centre, University of New England. .

            36. B. Probert and J. Wacjman suggest that in Australia also, data entry work has not followed the trend of decentralisation that has been described in the USA and Europe either, although home-based word-processing was fairly common; op.cit.

            37. Figures provided by the New Zealand Federated Clerical, Administrative and Related Workers Industrial Association of Workers.

            38. The New Zealand Institute for Social Research and Development has a research project into teleworking in the public sector under way. The preliminary results suggest that while some employees work at home occasionally, employees are not requesting formal telework programmes and many organisations feel they are not practical at present.

            39. Advertisements were placed in most of the major daily newspapers, computer magazines, special interest publications and in computer bulletin boards in early 1991. The 51 responses were followed up by a combination of personal, telephone, and mail surveys, depending on the location of the teleworkers.

            40. Only 12 firms had teleworkers, see L. Taylor, Flexible Work Patterns, Quest Rapuara, 1992, pp.101–102.

            41. This conference was jointly sponsored by Telecom New Zealand, DSIR and the Telecommunications Users Association of New Zealand.

            42. Loveridge A. and Schoeffel P.. 1991. . Who works at home: A New Zealand Profile . , Christchurch : : DSIR Social Science. .

            43. Department of Statistics, New Zealand Census of Population and Dwellings: Education and Training, Department of Statistics, Wellington, 1988.

            44. Probert and Wacjman, op.cit.

            45. Department of Statistics, New Zealand Census of Population and Dwellings: Labour Force, Department of Statistics, Wellington, 1988.

            46. Department of Statistics, New Zealand Census of Population and Dwellings: Age and Marital Status, Department of Statistics Wellington, 1988.

            47. Department of Statistics, New Zealand Official Yearbook 1991-92, Department of Statistics, Wellington, 1992.

            48. M. Perry. ‘Externalisation and the interpretation of business service growth,’ The Service Industries Journal, January 1992, pp.1–16.

            49. Taylor, op.cit., pp.79–81.

            50. ibid., pp.82–4.

            51. ibid., p.103.

            52. Poot J.. 1990. . ‘Economic aspects of Project Population Change Beyond 2000: The key issues in New Zealand’. . New Zealand Population Review . , Vol. 16((1))

            53. Jones B.. 1990. . Sleepers Wake! Technology and the Future of work . , Melbourne : : Oxford University Press. .

            54. Dordick H.. 1987. . Information Technology in New Zealand. . , p. 22 Wellington : : Victoria University Press. .


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