CEC Faculty Articles

Title

Do instant messaging interruptions help or hinder knowledge workers' task performance?

Document Type

Article

Date

6-1-2013

Publication Title

International Journal of Information Management

ISSN or ISBN

0268-4012

Volume

33

Issue

3

First Page

591

Last Page

596

Description

The modern workplace environment is filled with interruptions due to the necessity of coworkers to communicate with each other. Studies have revealed that interruptions can impact task performance (TP). Communication interruptions are due, in part, to the unavoidable side-effect of using technology to facilitate these interactions. This experimental case study reports about an investigation we conducted on the role of instant messaging interruptions (IMI) and its implications on knowledge workers’ TP in a workplace environment. We have gathered data from knowledge workers engaged in an e-learning activity. The case study included a total of 60 experimental observations and analysis of the 120 records revealed that the time to complete a task (TPtct) for certain types of tasks, was significantly affected by IMI. This case study addressed gaps in IM interruption research and practical knowledge about the role of instant messages in the organization. Previous research has been conducted in a laboratory environment with interruptions generated by means other than actual IM. This case study used IMI with participants working in their normal workplace. Findings were used to provide a set of lessons learned recommendations for managers when it comes to the use of IM in the workplace.

DOI

10.1016/j.ijinfomgt.2013.01.011

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