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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:
... Thus, previous work on technostress has included IS use variables directly into their models. For example, Ayyagari et al. (2011) include IS use as a control variable, Stich, Tarafdar, Stacey, and Cooper (2019) investigate email use as a driver of stress, and Maier, Laumer, Eckhardt, and Weitzel (2015) find an effect of social network usage on stress. Similarly, events that happen during IS use, such as technology-induced interruptions, have been assessed as potential sources of stress (Galluch, Grover, & Thatcher, 2015). ...
... Technostress has been theorised as a consequence of IS use (Ayyagari et al., 2011). Thus, various variables relating to IS use have been included both as explanatory variables (e.g., Maier, Laumer, Weinert, & Weitzel, 2015;Stich et al., 2019) and control variables (e.g., Ayyagari et al., 2011) in previous studies. Second, a higher workload may increase both technostress (Ayyagari et al., 2011;Stich et al., 2019) and performance (e.g., Lepine, Podsakoff, & LePine, 2005). ...
... Thus, various variables relating to IS use have been included both as explanatory variables (e.g., Maier, Laumer, Weinert, & Weitzel, 2015;Stich et al., 2019) and control variables (e.g., Ayyagari et al., 2011) in previous studies. Second, a higher workload may increase both technostress (Ayyagari et al., 2011;Stich et al., 2019) and performance (e.g., Lepine, Podsakoff, & LePine, 2005). ...
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Measures to contain the COVID-19 pandemic have caused many employees to work from home; a novel situation in which individuals used information systems (IS) more intensively to stay in touch with coworkers. This novel IS use situation affected individuals differently and resulted in both positive and negative outcomes. Recent calls for research advocate for clarification regarding the conceptualisation of appraisal, which explains different individual responses to objectively equal environments. In particular, challenge-hindrance-research does not differentiate between primary and secondary appraisal. Therefore, it remains unclear how individual capability beliefs, such as self-efficacy, affect challenge and hindrance IS use appraisal. We conduct an empirical study with 1,553 German employees to investigate these relationships and the positive and negative outcomes during the COVID-19 pandemic. We find that challenge and hindrance IS use appraisal, and remote working self-efficacy are interconnected, yet different constructs. We find that self-efficacy is related to challenge IS use appraisal, rather than hindrance IS use appraisal. Further, challenge IS use appraisal is a driver for performance in a remote working environment. We conclude that there are stressful aspects of IS use that are not influenced by an individual’s belief in their abilities. Our study emphasises the importance of remote working self-efficacy and IS use appraisal to mitigate techno-distress and increase performance during remote work.
... When this equilibrium is disturbed or becomes imbalanced, people become stressed. This state of disturbance or imbalance between a person and his/her environment is referred to as a misfit (Edwards, 1996;Edwards and Cooper, 1990) and is thought to be based on the subjective evaluation of whether one's needs are not being met or that one is incapable of meeting the expectations and demands of the environment (Ayyagari et al., 2011;Chilton et al., 2005;LeRouge et al., 2006;Stich et al., 2019b;Wang et al., 2020;Lee et al., 2016). ...
... Appendix 3). When attended to, demand appraisals have been explained primarily through one of three theoretical lenses (transactional theory of stress, P-E fit theory and cybernetic theory), in which individuals perform a subjective evaluation of their environment in terms of opportunity or threat(D'Arcy et al., 2014(D'Arcy et al., , 2018Galluch et al., 2015;Liang et al., 2019), (mis)fit(Ayyagari et al., 2011;Stich et al., 2019b;Chilton et al., 2005), or (in) equilibrium(Stich et al., 2019a) ...
Purpose The impact of stress on personal and work-related outcomes has been studied in the information systems (IS) literature across several professions. However, the cybersecurity profession has received little attention despite numerous reports suggesting stress is a leading cause of various adverse professional outcomes. Cybersecurity professionals work in a constantly changing adversarial threat landscape, are focused on enforcement rather than compliance, and are required to adhere to ever-changing industry mandates – a work environment that is stressful and has been likened to a war zone. Hence, this literature review aims to reveal gaps and trends in the current extant general workplace and IS-specific stress literature and illuminate potentially fruitful paths for future research focused on stress among cybersecurity professionals. Design/methodology/approach Using the systematic literature review process (Okoli and Schabram, 2010), the authors examined the current IS research that studies stress in organizations. A disciplinary corpus was generated from IS journals and conferences encompassing 30 years. The authors analyzed 293 articles from 21 journals and six conferences to retain 77 articles and four conference proceedings for literature review. Findings The findings reveal four key research opportunities. First, the demands experienced by cybersecurity professionals are distinct from the demands experienced by regular information technology (IT) professionals. Second, it is crucial to identify the appraisal process that cybersecurity professionals follow in assessing security demands. Third, there are many stress responses from cybersecurity professionals, not just negative responses. Fourth, future research should focus on stress-related outcomes such as employee productivity, job satisfaction, job turnover, etc., and not only security compliance among cybersecurity professionals. Originality/value This study is the first to provide a systematic synthesis of the IS stress literature to reveal gaps, trends and opportunities for future research focused on stress among cybersecurity professionals. The study presents several novel trends and research opportunities. It contends that the demands experienced by cybersecurity professionals are distinct from those experienced by regular IT professionals and scholars should seek to identify the key characteristics of these demands that influence their appraisal process. Also, there are many stress responses, not just negative responses, deserving increased attention and future research should focus on unexplored stress-related outcomes for cybersecurity professionals.
... Therefore, organizations will need to retain qualified ITP to improve their core capabilities because qualified information systems (IS) will be a useful asset to increase the core capability of organizations, and they need to be maintained well by qualified ITP [6]. However, ITP always have a high desire to extend their knowledge beyond the IT/IS field [6,7]. If they do not have much chance to learn the state of the art, they will leave the organization sooner or later [5,8]. ...
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The career anchors of information technology personnel (ITP) are critical factors influencing their career satisfaction (CS), and these factors are also influenced by national culture. Although a number of scholars have studied the internal CS of employees, these scholars have not explained how to increase the CS of ITP from both individual and organizational perspectives and to further improve the success rate of IS projects. Thus, this study adopts the goal–achievement gap (discrepancy) theory to explore the gap between the “internal career desires (career wants, CW)” and “external career opportunities (career have, CH)” of ITP in two different cultural societies, namely mainland China and the United Arab Emirates, and whether the gap impacts their CS. The data in this study were collected from the Internet. A survey was posted on Internet discussion forums for full-time ITP participants within organizations in China and the United Arab Emirates; thus, the results of this study are possibly only generalizable to these two countries. Finally, the results of this study provide the following contributions: (1) There are 13 career anchors (technical competence, managerial competence, autonomy, organizational stability, challenge, lifestyle, identity, creativity, variety, service, entrepreneurship, geographic security, and learning motivation) of ITP in China, which can be divided into three categories, and these are totally different from the four categories identified by ITP in the United Arab Emirates. (2) The surface analysis approach (RSA) to test the curvilinear relationship between the CW, CH, and CS of ITP indeed can explain more than the linear SEM (structural equation modeling) test between the CW and CS, CH, and CS separately, both tests are in two different cultural societies, China and the United Arab Emirates.
... The two theories most frequently used are the Conservation of Resources (COR) and Person-Environment Fit (P-E Fit). Scholars believe that both theories fundamentally explain stress theories on motivation and balance between humans and their environment (Ayyagari et al. 2011;Califf & Brooks 2020;Stich et al. 2019). In comparison, other scholars did not concentrate on a particular theory. ...
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The use of technology in daily life and tasks has led to a variety of job outcomes. These were previously referred to under various terms and concepts used by past researchers. A Systematic Literature Review (SLR) was conducted and since this phenomenon is still new and in the exploratory phase, this technique will give an overview of the trend shown in past studies as related to impact on job outcomes. Data for this article were gathered from the Scopus and Web of Science databases from 1982 to 2021. Seventy articles were finalized from 269 found at the initial stage through the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) reporting method. The study has identified and combined as many as ten terms and concepts into job outcome dimensions and further developed a conceptual framework between technostress and job outcomes. The trend and combination of these dimensions will be a source of reference and guidelines for organizations to formulate intervention measures to reduce the impact of technostress on job outcomes. Meanwhile, further research is recommended to focus on the role of mediating and moderating factors that may also affect job outcomes.
... Although previous research has identified the growing importance of nonmonetary rewards [8,10,11], little attention has been given to how to design nonmonetary rewards to improve the effectiveness of RRPs. Given that the findings from different research streams provide unequivocal evidence for congruity as a determinant of evaluation and decision-making [12][13][14], this research aims to fill this research gap by focusing on the reward-product congruity of nonmonetary rewards, which refers to the degree of match/mismatch between a reward (e.g., the free gifts that users would obtain if their recommendations are successful) and a product (e.g., a mobile app that invites users to recommend it to their friends) [15]. ...
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In the last 25 years, work‐email activity has been studied across domains and disciplines. Yet, despite the abundance of research available, a comprehensive, unifying framework of how work‐email activity positively impacts both well‐being and work‐performance outcomes has yet to emerge. This is a timely and significant concern; work‐email is the most prominent and popular form of work communication but it is still unclear what people need to do to be effective emailers at work. To address this, we undertook a rigorous cross‐disciplinary systematic literature review of 62 empirical papers. Using action regulation theory, we developed a multi‐action, multi‐goal framework and found four ‘super’ actions that consistently predict effectiveness (positive well‐being and work‐performance outcomes). These actions involve: (i) communicating and adhering to work‐email access boundaries; (ii) regularly triaging emails (iii) sending work‐relevant email and (iv) being civil and considerate in work‐email exchanges. We found that super actions are engaged when workers have the resources to appropriately regulate their activity, and can attend to their self, task and social needs. Our framework synthesizes a broad and disparate research field, providing valuable insights and guiding future research directions. It also offers practical recommendations to organizations and individuals; by understanding and encouraging the adoption of work‐email super actions, effective work‐email practices can be enhanced.
El tecnoestrés fue originalmente definido como: «Una moderna enfermedad de adap- tación, provocada por una carencia para enfrentar a las nuevas tecnologías computariza- das de forma saludable» (Brod, 1984, p. 16). Los recientes cambios sociales provocados por la pandemia SARS-CoV-2, como la nor- malización del trabajo a distancia, incrementaron el interés por el tecnoestrés y sus efectos. Si bien la tendencia de mayor uso de dispositivos y conectividad venía en ascenso desde antes de que explotara la crisis de salud por COVID-19, las aceleradas modificaciones han colocado el tema como un asunto que vale la pena ser estudiado de forma académica, pues involucra artefactos tecnológicos que trasportan mensajes que a su vez tienen la capacidad de afectar la psicología e incidir en los estados fisiológicos de las personas. Establecido lo anterior, este texto hace una revisión de la literatura académica alrede- dor del tecnoestrés organizacional y docente hallados sobre estas dos áreas de conocimien- to en diversas bases de datos electrónicas entre 1982 y 2021. A medida que la educación se ha hecho más tecnificada, estos ámbitos se han imbricado con mayor fuerza, pues las instituciones han aprovechado estas nuevas herramientas para incrementar el control de su productividad académica.
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Technostress is a rising issue in the changing world of digital work. Technostress can cause severe adverse outcomes for individuals and organizations. Thus, organizations face the moral, legal, and economic responsibility to prevent employees’ excessive technostress. As technostress develops over time, it is crucial to prevent it throughout the process of its emergence instead of only reacting after adverse outcomes occur. Contextualizing the Theory of Preventive Stress management to technostress, we synthesize and advance existing knowledge on inhibiting technostress. We develop a set of 24 technostress prevention measures from technostress inhibitor literature, other technostress literature, and based on qualitative and quantitative contributions from a Delphi study. Based on expert feedback, we characterize each measure and, where possible, assess its relevance in addressing specific technostressors. Our paper contributes to research by transferring the Theory of Preventive Stress Management into the context of technostress and presenting specific measures to prevent technostress. This offers a complementary view to technostress inhibitors by expanding the theoretical grounding and adding a time perspective through the implementation of primary, secondary, and tertiary prevention measures. For practice, we offer a comprehensive and applicable overview of measures organizations can implement to prevent technostress.
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