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Motivators of Knowledge Workers to Conduct Digital Detox

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Abstract

A great deal of time spent with information and communication technologies (ICT) makes knowledge workers especially susceptible to technostress. In this regard, the concept of digital detox has emerged to describe a strategic and periodic disengagement with ICT. Whereas extant research has put emphasis on untangling the characteristics and effects of digital detox, we do not know what motivators underly this practice other than the more general notion of technostress. Therefore, this study undertakes a qualitative approach with 10 phenomenological interviews to identify motivators of digital detox in knowledge work. The interview results culminate in a typology of individual digital detox motivators. We contribute to the theorization of digital detox by linking different types of motivators (prevention/coping/performance/physiological reboot) to digital detox and its effects on the experience of technostress. Implications for the design of digital detox policies that match with the motivations of knowledge workers can be derived.

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