Information and communication technology use, work intensification and employee strain and distress

Recent scholarship on work suggests that information and communication technology (ICT) use may be significantly altering job conditions in ways that are indicative of work intensification, which, in turn, contributes to employee strain and distress. This article, by Chesley, uses structural equation modelling and OLS regression techniques to analyse 2002 survey data drawn from a nationally representative sample of US employees in order to assess the pathways through which ICT use may influence levels of employee strain and distress. It is found that use is linked to higher levels of employee strain and distress via a work intensification process that is indicated by faster-paced work and greater levels of interruptions and multitasking. However, there is also evidence that both work and personal ICT use may mitigate these influences. While the findings do suggest that ICT use can have negative implications for contemporary workers, as a whole the results support a more nuanced view that points to both costs and benefits associated with ICT use.

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Abigail Gilbert



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