Currently, the workforce is comprised of multiple generations, of which Generation X and Y are the largest, working in a variety of arrangements. These include working from home, satellite centers, on the road, collaboration offices, and brick and mortar locations. As information and communication technology advances, more opportunities for individuals to supplement or change their working environments are available. Along with these different modes of work comes occasions and challenges for managers to demonstrate coaching behaviors toward employees who work alongside them on an on-going basis, and simultaneously to those who are removed from the face-to-face interactions and instead rely on technology for primary communication. Thus, managers in today’s organizations are tasked with coaching and developing both traditional and virtual employees.

The purpose of this study was to test for measurement invariance and assess latent mean differences between groups of traditional and virtual employees with data from one of the most widely used managerial coaching instruments. Data was collected via MTurk in this cross-sectional, multi-survey design. Both groups were equated before measurement invariance testing and latent mean analysis by employing propensity score matching techniques. Once invariance was demonstrated, latent mean differences were assessed. Results indicated traditional employees perceived their managers exhibited more coaching behaviors than those perceived by virtual employees. However, the results were not statistically or practically significant. Findings from this study do provide support for the psychometric properties of the Employee Perceptions of Supervisor/Line Manager Coaching Behavior (Ellinger, Ellinger, & Keller, 2003) instrument. Implications to research and practice were discussed, including the importance of virtual managerial coaching to the virtual human resource development movement.

Date of publication

Fall 11-26-2018

Document Type




Persistent identifier


Committee members

Dr. Kim Nimon, Dr. Andrea D. Ellinger, Dr. Rochell McWhorter, Dr. Elisabeth Bennett