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Please, can I have your attention? An experimental study of the influence of response expectations, interruption frequency and interruption complexity on the level of workplace telepressure and negative emotions experienced by employees

Spoler, H. (2016) Please, can I have your attention? An experimental study of the influence of response expectations, interruption frequency and interruption complexity on the level of workplace telepressure and negative emotions experienced by employees.

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Abstract:Aim. The aim of this research was to examine the influence of response expectations, interruption frequency and interruption complexity on the workplace telepressure and negative emotions employees experience when using an Instant Messaging system. The research question of this study was: To what extent do the interruption frequency, the interruption complexity and the demand response expectations have an influence on the level of workplace telepressure and negative emotions experienced by an individual? Background. Previous research mainly focused on the influence of interruption frequency and interruption complexity on task performance. In this experiment, the influence of these dimensions and response expectations on employees’ psychological well-being (workplace telepressure and negative emotions) was measured. Barber & Santuzzi (2014) introduced the phenomenon of workplace telepressure recently, which is the urge individuals experience to respond quickly to messages they receive. Until now, no experiments have been executed that included workplace telepressure as an outcome. In this research, the Personal Need for Structure scale was included as a moderator in the relationship between response expectations, interruption frequency and interruption complexity and the level of workplace telepressure and negative emotions such that the relationships would be stronger for individuals with a higher need for structure. Design. The current research consisted of two different studies with a between-subjects 2(high vs. low) x 2(high vs. low) design. In study 1, the variables response expectations and interruption frequency were included. In study 2, the variables interruption complexity and interruption frequency were included. Method. The used method is an experiment in which participants executed a work-related task. A total of 108 Dutch participants between 18 and 35 years old participated in the research: 60 participants in study 1 and 48 participants in study 2. During the task, which consisted of making a schedule for the service staff of a non-existing hotel, participants were interrupted by messages from an Instant Messaging system. After executing this task, an online survey was filled out by the participants. Results. In contrast with the expectations, response expectations, interruption frequency and interruption complexity did not have a significant influence on the level of workplace telepressure and negative emotions experienced. However, perceived response expectations seemed to predict the level of workplace telepressure for 60%. Besides that, an interaction effect was found between the variables interruption frequency and interruption complexity and their influence on workplace telepressure. The highest scores on workplace telepressure could by observed for participants in the high interruption complexity and low interruption frequency condition. Conclusion. The perceptions of the participants seemed to have an influence on the fact that the hypotheses were not supported. Both the interruption frequency and complexity were not perceived as high in the high interruption frequency and – complexity conditions. Also, the perceived response expectations seemed to predict the level of workplace telepressure to a great extent. Both in study 1 and in the interaction effect of study 2, participants in the low frequency conditions experienced higher levels of workplace telepressure. Perhaps, these participants were more surprised by the messages they received. This finding has not been mentioned in previous research. Because of the fact that the hypotheses were (partially) rejected, Instant Messaging systems seemed not to have an influence on psychological well-being as negative as hypothesized. Practical implications. It seemed to be difficult to find differences between the different conditions by use of an experiment. Possibly, also other variables such as availability outside work and individual differences are of influence on experiencing stress and stress-related phenomena such as workplace telepressure. Organizations should always be alert on the difficulty of establishing the factors that are of influence on the positive and negative experiences of employees with Instant Messaging systems. Therefore, personal communication in an organization with the employees is essential.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Clients:
Unknown organization, Nederland
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:05 communication studies, 77 psychology
Programme:Communication Studies MSc (60713)
Link to this item:http://purl.utwente.nl/essays/69367
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