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Personal internet usage at work: A source of recovery
Karlstad University, Faculty of Economic Sciences, Communication and IT, Department of Working Life Science.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-7061-9955
Karlstad University, Faculty of Economic Sciences, Communication and IT, Department of Working Life Science.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-8372-5634
2011 (English)In: Journal of workplace rights, ISSN 1938-4998, Vol. 16, no 1, 63-81 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Despite enormous productivity increases during recent decades, it has been claimed that workers’ engagement in non-work-related activities severely damages companies’ productivity development. Currently, personal Internet usage seems to be the most upsetting of these activities. There is a widespread notion among management-friendly researchers, employers, and the media that all non-work-related activities are deviant and should be defeated at all costs. This conceptual article gives an overview of the organisational behaviour literature dealing with non-work-related activities at work. The prohibitive approach is both inconsistent and in practice unenforceable. This is especially true since an increasing proportion of today’s private Internet usage at work is carried out by employees using their private smartphones, a fact that has not been considered in previous research. This article contrasts theories and ideas that private Internet usage at work is deviant with theoretical overviews arguing that non-work-related activities are an expression of normal action and behaviour, which can be explained with the help of both work-life balance theory and theories on resistance. An additional concept is recovery, which has not previously been used in the debate on Internet usage. Today’s workplaces are populated by engaged employees who work at a fast pace and need recovery, well-deserved micro-pauses, and breaks from demanding work. Furthermore, some Internet surfing is actually a consequence of organisations’ inability to come up with decent work tasks to fill the whole day. The aim of this article is to point out the recovery functions of personal Internet usage in today’s working life, primarily in terms of employees’ well-being and dignity. This article contributes to the debate by proposing eight situations in which the employee should be allowed to “cyberloaf” without being disciplined. The article also suggests empirical investigations that may be carried out with regard to the views and effects of personal Internet use at work in four different settings, that is, where employees’ private Internet usage is officially forbidden, seemingly forbidden, allowed, or encouraged.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2011. Vol. 16, no 1, 63-81 p.
Keyword [en]
Internet, recovery, resistance, diviant, productivity, private activity on company time, organizational misbehaviour, work life balance, smartphone, cyberloafing, cyberslacking
National Category
Work Sciences
Research subject
Working Life Science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-14730DOI: 10.2190/WR.16.1.eOAI: oai:DiVA.org:kau-14730DiVA: diva2:551413
Funder
Forte, Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare, 2010-0730
Available from: 2012-09-11 Created: 2012-09-11 Last updated: 2015-08-03Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
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