While the role of computers in the 21st century has enabled organizations to become more efficient and effective, technology has also created problems for many of its users. The research literature on the use of workplace email indicated that email is causing several problems, including an interruption of workflow/productivity, email overload, stress, and work-life imbalance. The mobile market in 2015 was exploding and showed a significant growth trend and is expected to continue. In addition, working women are an increasing population in the workforce, and even more women are working virtually. The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore how an overload of workplace email was perceived by virtual working women to impact their stress levels and ability to maintain a reasonable work-life balance, in order for managers to better support and manage employee workloads. The theoretical framework for this study included Gilbert’s (2007) Behavior Engineering model (BEM) and Ashforth, Kreiner, and Fugate’s (2000) Boundary Theory. The basic qualitative method was utilized, in addition to nonprobability and purposeful, or convenience sampling. A total of 14 participants participated in the study and met the criteria to include (a) female, (b) age 25–65, (c) remote or virtual worker, (d) full-time employee, (e) work for a U.S. based organization, and experiencing or experienced overload from email. The research design included a combination of structured and semi-structured interviews. The findings revealed that virtual working women’s job performance was impacted and they experienced: (a) increased and decreased stress from workplace email; however, it was dependent upon the volume, tone and frequency of the emails (b) increased and decreased productivity from workplace email and (c) impacts on work-life balance, given the use of workplace email. Discovering virtual working women’s self-perceptions, as it relates to workplace email, stress, and work-life balance, provided valuable insights for managers to develop strategies and performance improvement interventions for dealing with email overload. Recommendations for future research to expand the study include: (a) the “millennial” population or the non-telecommuter (b) a quantitative study, (c) text overload, (d) gender differences, and (e) mental and physical health effects.
|Advisor:||Johansen, Keith, Hardt, Paul|
|Department:||School of Education|
|School Location:||United States -- Minnesota|
|Source:||DAI-A 77/12(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Adult education, Educational psychology|
|Keywords:||Behavior engineering model, Boundary theory, Email overload, Performance improvement, Stress, Work-life balance|
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