Publication Detail

Modeling the Choice of Telecommuting:  2. A Case of the Preferred Impossible Alternative



Suggested Citation:
Mokhtarian, Patricia L. and Ilan Salomon (1996) Modeling the Choice of Telecommuting:  2. A Case of the Preferred Impossible Alternative. Environment and Planning A 28 (10), 1859 - 1876

A conceptual model of the choice to telecommute was advanced in an earlier paper. In this paper we present empirical data from a nonrepresentative sample of 628 City of San Diego employees on key variables and relationships in that model. The relationships among possibility, preference, and choice are examined. A key finding is the existence of a large group of people (57% of the sample) for whom telecommuting is a preferred impossible alternative. Dichotomous and continuous constraints are distinguished, and three dichotomous constraints are defined. 'Lack of awareness' is active for 4%, 'job unsuitability' for 44%, and 'manager disapproval' for 51% of the sample. For 68% of the sample, at least one of these constraints is active. Even among those for whom none of the dichotomous constraints is in force, most people do not choose telecommuting because of the presence of active continuous constraints. For only 11% of the entire sample, telecommuting is possible, preferred, and chosen. The potential impacts of self-selection bias are estimated, and sampling bias is qualitatively assessed. This analysis provides a crude but useful estimate of the potential of telecommuting in the population, and more specifically, the relative share of potential telecommuters who are prevented by key dichotomous constraints from choosing that option.