Projekt

Technostress in Organizations

Projekt

Information and communication technologies (ICT) are more prevalent in the work environment than ever before; creating benefits for employees (e.g., automation of tedious tasks) and organizations (e.g., cost   savings). However, evidence   indicates that individual interaction with ICT may lead to detrimental effects such as symptoms of lowered psychological and physiological health (e.g., fatigue), reduced job satisfaction, and lowered productivity. This negative side of ICT is referred to as technostress(TS).Although  the term was coined more  than30  years  ago, the  phenomenon  has received increased research attention in recent years, and this, in turn, has facilitated the development of new  insights into  the  phenomenon. Often,  however,  research  results  have  been  derived  based  on mere  survey  studies  or  in  laboratory  settings.  Thus,  it  is the  purpose  of  this  study  to  draw  a  more complete  picture  of  the  factors  and  mechanisms  that  lead  to TS by  studying  the  phenomenon  in  the field(i.e., in an organization), answering the main research question:
How and why does TS occur in organizations, and how do employees cope with it?
Based  on  existing cybernetic theories  of  organizational  stress, we  developed  a  new  integrated theoretical  framework  to  study  TS  in  organizations, which constitutes the basis  for a  field  study. As the  phenomenon  is  highly  dynamic  in  nature  (e.g.,  due  to  spontaneous  events  like  computer  break downs), a longitudinal approach (i.e., repeated data collection over several months at a time) is needed to  study TS causes  and  effects.  Also,  using  traditional  means  of  data  collection  which  involve  the perceptions of individuals alone (e.g., interviews, focus groups, or questionnaires) are not be sufficient to  draw  a  complete  picture  of  this  phenomenon.  It  has  been  shown that  the often  unconscious detrimental effects  of TS(e.g., strains that result from elevations  of stress hormones) cannot be fully reported by participants. This, in turn, makes data collection methods from neurobiology and medicine an   important   complement   to   the   more   traditional   methods. In   addition   to   interviews   and questionnaires,  among  other  more  traditional  methods, we  therefore also  measure  bodily  symptoms, including heart rate, blood pressure, and stress-related substances such as cortisol and alpha-amylase. Based  on  the  findings, we advance our  theoretical framework, thereby  contributing  to  a  better theoretical  understanding  of  TS. Also,  we provide a  methodological  contribution  by  showing  how  a mixed  methods  approach  can  be  applied  to  the  study  of TS. The results of this study facilitate the development of effective TS countermeasures.

 

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