Email is the communication application most widely used in organizations. Its use in the workplace has increased fourfold since 2006. Yet, email is associated with a number of negative aspects, most prominently ‘email overload’, defined as an individual’s perception of being overwhelmed by emails that s/he considers too numerous to handle. Email overload is a theoretically interesting phenomenon because of its adverse organizational outcomes. Moreover, it continues to be vexing in practice because it has proved intractable to manage. We problematize the current understanding of email overload as being due to lack of understanding of its technology fit-related antecedents and job-related outcomes, and then investigate how email overload is influenced by a lack of fit between the communication applications that the organization provides to individuals and those that (1) they want, and that (2) are suitable for their tasks. We hypothesize that such lack of fit leads to email by default, defined as the perception of email being used improperly, when other communication applications would be better suited. Email by default is then hypothesized to lead to email overload. We further investigate job-related outcomes of email overload. To achieve this, we conducted a two-stage, multi-method empirical study in a large manufacturing organization in a sequential research design, where the first study (qualitative-interviews) informed the second (quantitative-survey). Our results support the hypothesized relationships. The paper theoretically broadens the scholarly discourse on email overload to include novel antecedents and outcomes in the ongoing quest to establish a more complete understanding of this phenomenon.
Purpose: The ability to work anytime from anywhere is attractive to job seekers, who respond by developing needs regarding flexible working. Flexibility needs are compared to the flexibility perceived in job advertisements to form an overall perception of flexibility fit. The purpose of this paper is to examine both the impact of flexibility fit (on applicant attraction) and its antecedents. Design/methodology/approach: The impact of flexibility fit on applicant attraction and its antecedents are examined using person-job fit theory. 92 job seekers analyzed a total of 391 job advertisements. The hypotheses are tested using multilevel structural equation modeling. Findings: The results show that perceived flexibility fit is positively related to job pursuit and job acceptance intentions. They further show that perceived flexibility fit is driven by perceived job advertisements’ flexibility exceeding applicants’ needed flexibility, which in turn is driven by the flexibility actually present in job advertisements exceeding applicants’ flexibility needs. Originality/value: The study contributes to literature on new ways of working by highlighting the desirable nature of flexibility and its impact on fit perceptions. It further contributes to literature on person-job fit by investigating a full model of fit, examining both outcomes and antecedents of perceived fit. For practitioners, the study highlights the importance of advertising flexibility to attract applicants.
Virtual offices give employees the ability to work anytime, anywhere, using information and communication technologies, thereby blurring the temporal and geographical boundaries of work. Workplace stress is thus allowed to spill over from traditional offices to virtual offices, and vice versa. This review article presents key research from work psychology and information systems on workplace stress experienced in virtual offices (interruptions, workload and the work-home interface). It further discusses the main threats faced by organizations and office managers: reduced social interactions, poor communication, and deviant behaviors. Suggestions are also offered to practitioners seeking to design virtual offices in which employees can feel and work well, and to academics seeking to research this phenomenon in a transdisciplinary way.