Describing the strategies used for dealing with email interruptions according to different situational parameters

Russell, Emma, Purvis, Lynne Millward and Banks, Adrian (2007) Describing the strategies used for dealing with email interruptions according to different situational parameters. Computers in Human Behavior, 23 (4). pp. 1820-1837. ISSN 0747-5632

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Abstract

Interruptions research is heavily reliant on a paradigm involving ‘enforced interruption’. Email use however constitutes a special form of ‘controlled interruption’. As there is no precedent available in the existing literature to describe what strategies people use to deal with ‘controlled interruption’, an exploratory first study was undertaken using an open-ended interview design. Twenty-eight email users working within UK organisations were asked about how they dealt with email interruptions, when faced with different situational or task parameters. Qualitative content analysis of interview transcripts revealed a wide range of strategies used for dealing with email in general, and for specific situations in particular, with idiosyncratic differences in application. These findings are consistent with the predictions of Action Regulation Theory [Hacker, W. (1985). Activity: A fruitful concept in industrial psychology. In M. Frese, J. Sabini (Eds.), Goal directed behaviour: The concept of action in psychology. London, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates (Chapter 18); The German Journal of Psychology 18(2) (1994) 91–120] – that people select strategies (action programs) for achieving a task according to the specific parameters of the task or goal. However, the findings go further in highlighting the salience of individual differences in underwriting one’s choice of strategy (or action program). Further research is required to understand which strategies are linked to effective performance, and how individual differences influence strategic decision making in multi-goal work environments.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Business, Management and Economics > Business and Management
Depositing User: Emma Russell
Date Deposited: 10 May 2019 11:50
Last Modified: 16 May 2019 11:41
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/83590
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