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The paper develops and tests theory that explains under what conditions the extent of email use is appraised as a stressor. Integrating concepts from information acquisition and person environment fit theories, we hypothesize that individuals appraise their extent of email use as stressful based on the mismatch between their current and desired extents of email use. We define such match as email fit and mismatch as email misfit. We first develop a conceptual framework that associates email misfit with the individual’s experience of three key workplace stressors – work relationship stressor, job control stressor and job conditions stressor. We then develop hypotheses framing the relationship between email fit and misfit, and these stressors. We test our hypotheses by applying quadratic polynomial regressions and surface-response analysis, to survey data obtained from 118 working individuals. The paper makes three theoretical contributions. Firstly, in reporting a theoretical and empirical construction of email fit and misfit and their relationship to workplace stressors, it shows that, email misfit is appraised as stress-creating. That is, both too much and too little email compared to what the individual desires, are associated with stressors. In doing so and secondly, it shows that IT use (in this case, email) is appraised as stressful both when it exceeds (i.e., associated with overload) and fails to meet (i.e., associated with underload), the user’s expectation and preference. Thirdly, it suggests the person environment approach as a theoretically novel way to conceptualize the cognitive appraisal and judgement associated with information under - and over – acquisition, and shows workplace stressors as potentially new effects associated with them.
Journal of the Association for Information Systems
Vol. 20 No. 2, 2019
pp. 132-160
DOI 10.17705/1jais.00531
Jean-François Stich
ICN Business School, CEREFIGE, Nancy, FR
Monideepa Tarafdar
Lancaster University Management School, Lancaster University, Lancaster, UK
Patrick Stacey
School of Business and Economics, Loughborough University, Loughborough, UK
Cary L. Cooper
Alliance Manchester Business School, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK
The Author Accepted Manuscript of this paper is freely available at:
The published version is available on the JAIS website at:
... Some studies focused on strain purely from a psychological stance (e.g. (Harris et al., 2013); Stich et al., 2019), while others also included physical or physiological aspects of strain (e.g. Day et al., 2012;Galluch et al., 2015). ...
... Aspects of overload and interruptiveness (both actual and perceived) were particularly associated with strain for workplace technology users (e.g. Harris et al., 2013;Galluch et al., 2015;Stich et al., 2019;Soucek & Moser, 2010). Reinke et al. (2016) helpfully distinguished between acute and chronic experiences of strain, emphasizing the difference between a momentary experience of stress and that which is accumulated at the end of the working day, and beyond. ...
... Organisational commitment was measured in 7 (4.7%) of the studies, though continuance commitment (i.e. the extent to which employees feel they need to stay with the organisation) only in one . Organisational commitment represents the employee's sense of emotional attachment to the organisation as well as being willing to put themselves out or expend effort on its behalf (Maier et al., 2015;Stich et al., 2019). The influence of the dark side effects on this construct were found to be negative overall and mediated by: work stress (Stich et al., 2019), work exhaustion (Maier et al., 2015), job tension (Carlson et al., 2017), and work-family conflict (Ferguson et al., 2016). ...
An intensification of digital working driven by Covid-19 has brought into sharp focus both the beneficial nature of digital workplace technologies and their potential dark side. Research has burgeoned in this area in recent years, but an integrated view across fields, technologies, dark side effects and outcomes is lacking. There are potential insights to be gained from compiling and comparing results and theoretical approaches. Following integrative review procedures, 194 studies were analysed to understand unintended negative consequences of a range of workplace technologies across disciplines and methodologies. The results demonstrate that considerable insight has been uncovered regarding certain dark side effects, stress in particular, in relation to e-mail and smartphones. However, a broader view of how they might manifest in relation to employees' holistic digital experience of work beyond certain information and communication technologies (ICTs) is lacking, including a clear picture of objective demands of the technology with which these effects are associated. Much remains to be understood across the full range of dark side effects in relation to the digital workplace including the associations between them and how they relate to cognitive and affective outcomes. The importance of both theoretical rigour and diversity is highlighted.
... These attributes characterize gig economy platforms, such as Uber, which tend to be centrally managed and rely heavily on advanced technology tools such as digital algorithms. Likewise, where workers are prevented by technology from having workplace relationships with coworkers (including supervisors, who no longer are responsible for directly facilitating control of worker behavior), stress is positively amplified [95]. Since Uber drivers operate independently from one another, their work exemplifies a tension between self-identity and a broader community of coworkers, leading drivers to struggle to communicate and interact with one another and establish meaningful bonds [71,89]. ...
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This study examines how the use of algorithmic control within gig economy platforms relates to the well-being and behavior of workers. Specifically, we explore how two different forms of algorithmic control—gatekeeping and guiding—correspond with (positive) challenge technostressors and (negative) threat technostressors experienced by Uber drivers. We also examine the moderating impact of algorithmic control transparency on these relationships, as well as the outcomes of technostressors in terms of continuance intentions and workaround use. Based on a survey of 621 U.S.-based Uber drivers, we find that gatekeeping and guiding algorithmic control positively relate to both challenge and threat technostressors. The study bridges the literature on control and technostress by conceptualizing algorithmic control as a condition that puts workers under stress. This stress is found to contribute to important behavioral consequences pertaining to both continuance intentions and workaround use. Findings from our work suggest that gig economy organizations can use algorithmic control to enhance challenge technostressors for their workers, thereby contributing to the cultivation of a more committed workforce. Furthermore, we find evidence disputing the assumption that algorithmic control transparency can mitigate the negative effects of threat technostressors.
... El estudio Appraisal of email use as a source of workplace stress: a person-environment fit approach (2019), coescrito por Jean-Fracois Stich y colaboradores, encontró que un exceso de correos electrónicos puede ser negativo para el individuo, pero también el recibir pocos de ellos. Es decir, Stich et al. (2019) encontraron que la carga de emails debe adecuarse a la persona y sus necesidades info-comunicativas, evitando aplicar una misma solución a todos los empleados. De esta forma, los investigadores recomiendan determinar bajo qué condiciones los empleados consideran estresante al correo electrónico y no solo enfocarse en el volumen del mismo. ...
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El tecnoestrés se asume como cualquier impacto negativo provocado por el uso repetido de las tecnologías de la información y la comunicación. Si bien ha sido estudiado en diversos países, su impacto apenas comienza a ser comprendido en México. El cambio en los procesos de enseñanza provocados por la pandemia SARS-CoV-2 obligó a muchos profesores universitarios de la Ciudad de México y municipios urbanos aledaños del Estado de México a cambiar su esquema de instrucción y depender de las TIC para llevar a cabo su trabajo, lo que incrementó su nivel de tecnoestrés. Mediante una metodología mixta con herramientas tradicionales y una capa agregada de recolección de datos biométricos, esta investigación encontró que el tecnoestrés tiene diversas manifestaciones fisiológicas y psicológicas en los maestros estudiados. También halló que los profesores con mayores niveles de tecnoestrés son más propensos encontrarse insatisfechos laboralmente, aunque existen diferencias categóricas entre ellos. Al final de la investigación se propone un modelo de recolección, análisis y visualización de data para disminuir el tecnoestrés a nivel institucional mediante una mejor toma de decisiones en tiempo real.
... The first channel, time pressure, captures the possibility that digital technologies at work can expose employees to working under pressure, having frequent tight deadlines resulting from electronic workflows, and lacking sufficient time for carrying out daily tasks (Agypt and Rubin 2012). Additionally, recent studies also evidence a large effect of email interruptions (Mark et al. 2016;Stich et al. 2019) and smartphone notification (Fitz et al. 2019) on the perceived work stress. Similarly, Mullan and Wajcman (2019) found a significant-though smallimpact of mobile devices on longer working hours, and evidence that it was significantly associated with time pressure. ...
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This paper provides novel results on the relative importance of multiple channels through which digitalization affects job satisfaction. Using part-time students and graduates of professional education and training colleges in Switzerland as a case study, we investigate the relative strength of ten different channels. We find that the association between digitalization and job satisfaction is positive on average. This relationship is mainly due to the increase in productivity and more interesting work. Heterogeneity analyses on subsets of workers suggest that the effect through increasing productivity is more beneficial for women, for older workers, for workers without an executive position, and for workers who did not study in technology-related fields. The effect through the interestingness of work is larger for males and for older workers. Our results further suggest that among the channels that decrease job satisfaction, increase of time pressure and worsening of work-life balance are much more important than the threat of losing one’s job. Both channels are more relevant for men, for older workers, and for workers whose field of study is technology-related.
... As firms' information environment becomes increasingly complex and abundant with excess data, they are being exposed to the detrimental phenomenon of Information Overload or Infobesity. The increasing use of different types of information systems -such as enterprise systems, email systemshas been associated with infobesity [4,13]. Prior studies have researched the antecedents and consequences of infobesity [1,2,14]. ...
... As firms' information environment becomes increasingly complex and abundant with excess data, they are being exposed to the detrimental phenomenon of Information Overload or Infobesity. The increasing use of different types of information systems -such as enterprise systems, email systemshas been associated with infobesity [4,13]. Prior studies have researched the antecedents and consequences of infobesity [1,2,14]. ...
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Infobesity is characterized by information overload whereby firms and decision makers collect more information than they need, or they can efficiently use. While recent studies have begun to unravel the antecedents of infobesity in organizations, there is a need to examine the relationship between the frequency and the degree of experiencing infobesity originating from enterprise systems. We use a research design that integrates inductive analytics and abductive discovery to uncover the interaction of multi-level antecedents of infobesity and conclude that the rate at which firms encounter infobesity drives the perception of the intensity at which the overload will be experienced.
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The following master thesis examines E-Mail communication behaviour in student lecturer communication, as well as supervisor subordinate communication. The goal of the thesis is to identify a time frame, in which E-Mail messages can be answered, which ensures no state of stress neither for the sender, nor the receiver of the message. Factors, which moderate E-Mail reply behaviour, were analysed in a mixed methods setting. Qualitative results show that stress generated through E-Mail communication arises if inquiries are of importance, if information needs to be obtained urgently, or if E-Mails concern financial matters. Changing to an escalated medium, writing follow up messages and the changing of contact person were observed solution strategies for reducing E-Mail stress. Emotion-focussed as well as problem-focussed coping strategies have been identified across participants. Quantitative results show that the median reply times of messages was two hours. Messages which contain an attachment take significantly more time to be replied to. Multiple Correspondence Analysis showed a strong correlation between applied codes and interviewees sex, age, education, current status and fast or slow E-Mail reply behaviour.
Digitalization increasingly changes individuals’ business and private lives. Today, individuals build and use ever more complex individual information systems (IIS) composed of privately-owned and business-owned components. The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated this development since individuals were forced to work from home due to the social distancing measures associated with the pandemic. The ongoing digitalization comes with great opportunities for individuals, such as higher mobility and flexibility, as well as for organizations, such as lower costs and increased productivity. However, the increased use of IIS at the workplace also bears risks for individuals. Such risks include technostress, which refers to stress that is caused by digital technologies. Technostress, in turn, can lead to health-related issues, reduced productivity, and higher turnover intentions. Thus, to leverage the positive opportunities of digitalization while reducing its associated risk of technostress, a better understanding of IIS, their use, and its effect on technostress, and of individual resources that may affect this relationship is needed. The aim of this dissertation is threefold: First, to contribute to a better understanding of layers of IIS and their different components. Second, since a negative outcome of IIS use can be technostress, this dissertation seeks to advance knowledge on technostress creators and how they can be influenced by IIS use and by various IIS characteristics. Third, this dissertation aims to reveal which resources of individuals may help mitigate technostress. This dissertation uses quantitative methods, such as online surveys and structural equation modeling, and qualitative methods, such as literature analyses and semi-structured interviews. Thereby, the methodological focus lies on quantitative data collection and analysis, while some papers use a mixed-methods approach as a combination of quantitative and qualitative methods. Chapter 2 of this dissertation aims at providing a better understanding of IIS by investigating its various components. Therefore, Chapter 2.1 conceptualizes four layers of IIS: devices, digital identities, relationships, and information. It also considers that IIS have two more or less integrated subsystems: the business information systems with business-owned components and the private information systems with privately-owned components. An empirical validation supports this conceptualization as well as the definition of integration between the two sub-systems on each of the four layers. Chapter 2.2 studies IT consumerization, which refers to the use of private IIS components in the business domain and applies a risk-benefit consideration. The results imply that benefits of consumerization of IT services, such as better functionalities of a private IT service outweigh risks, such as the threat of sanctions for the use of private IT services. Chapter 3 focuses on technostress as a negative outcome of the increased IIS use. Chapter 3.1 analyzes how IT consumerization is related to the technostress creator unreliability of digital technologies. The results reveal a positive relationship between IT consumerization and unreliability and show that unreliability is perceived higher when the IT portfolio integration and the individual’s computer self-efficacy are low. Chapter 3.2 proceeds with studying characteristics of digital technologies and how these are related to technostress. It presents ten characteristics that are associated with at least one technostress creator. Chapter 3.3 extends the concept of technostress and introduces a framework of twelve different technostress creators, reveals four second-order factors underlying the twelve technostress creators, and brings them into relation with work- and health-related effects. Chapter 4 also deals with technostress and investigates resources to mitigate technostress. Chapter 4.1 focuses on organizational measures and finds different relationships of the investigated measures with different technostress creators. While some of the technostress creators can be inhibited by the implementation of organizational measures, others are found to be even intensified by the organizational measures. Chapter 4.2 focuses on social mechanisms that function as technostress inhibitors. Findings differ between technostress creators and the investigated social support dimensions. Furthermore, the results highlight the fact that some of the social support dimensions gain even greater importance in light of increasing telework. In summary, this dissertation provides new insights into IIS and their use, the emergence of technostress in digitalized workplaces, and organizational as well as social mechanisms that help mitigate technostress. Hence, this dissertation supports current efforts in both research and practice to reduce technostress while leveraging the positive opportunities of workplace digitalization.
Amid the increasing digitisation of schools, relatively little work has examined the ways in which digital technologies are reconfiguring the work of school principals. With an approach based on the sociology of work, this paper draws on 19 in-depth interviews with Australian school principals to examine their everyday experiences of digital work—with particular attention paid to the enduring influence of email as a key work tool. On one hand, email was seen as a constant and unremarkable feature of ‘modern’ school leadership. Yet, these accounts also highlighted how the intensification and extension of individual principals’ labour practices were being exacerbated by multiple layers and technologies of surveillance, expectations of constant availability, and increased accountabilities imposed through email. Of particular significance were the detrimental ways in which email-based work was described as reshaping the affective dimensions of principals’ work. Against this background, the paper considers what steps might be taken to mitigate such pressures, and perhaps move towards alternate forms of digitally-supported work that are more sustainable.
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