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Information Overload in the New World of Work: Qualitative Study into the Reasons

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DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-304-3.ch024
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MLA

ter Heerdt, Jeroen and Tanya Bondarouk. "Information Overload in the New World of Work: Qualitative Study into the Reasons." Handbook of Research on E-Transformation and Human Resources Management Technologies: Organizational Outcomes and Challenges. IGI Global, 2009. 396-418. Web. 26 Oct. 2014. doi:10.4018/978-1-60566-304-3.ch024

APA

ter Heerdt, J., & Bondarouk, T. (2009). Information Overload in the New World of Work: Qualitative Study into the Reasons. In T. Bondarouk, H. Ruel, K. Guiderdoni-Jourdain, & E. Oiry (Eds.) Handbook of Research on E-Transformation and Human Resources Management Technologies: Organizational Outcomes and Challenges (pp. 396-418). Hershey, PA: Information Science Reference. doi:10.4018/978-1-60566-304-3.ch024

Chicago

ter Heerdt, Jeroen and Tanya Bondarouk. "Information Overload in the New World of Work: Qualitative Study into the Reasons." In Handbook of Research on E-Transformation and Human Resources Management Technologies: Organizational Outcomes and Challenges, ed. Tanya Bondarouk, Huub Ruel, Karine Guiderdoni-Jourdain and Ewan Oiry, 396-418 (2009), accessed October 26, 2014. doi:10.4018/978-1-60566-304-3.ch024

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Abstract

In this chapter the authors present a revision of the information overload concept elaborated by Eppler and Mengis (2004). The main elements of our approach are literature synopsis and analysis, qualitative semi-structured interviews, and discussion. Their review of the information overload concept is multidisciplinary as we identify similarities and differences among the various management perspectives and refine it with the empirical findings. They hope that by doing so, we can identify synergies between the theoretical conceptualization (Epper and Mengis, 2004), and real-life settings. They present results in a highly compressed, visualized format that allows for a more concise representation of the subject domain, easy comparisons, and hopefully – reduction of information overload. The empirical study was done at the Microsoft B.V. (The Netherlands) where Information workers became the most important type of workers within an organization.
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Introduction

In this chapter we present a revision of the information overload concept (Eppler and Mengis, 2004) based on the extensive empirical findings. The main elements of our approach are literature synopsis and analysis, qualitative semi-structured interviews, and discussion. Our review of the Information Overload concept is multidisciplinary as we identify similarities and differences among the various management perspectives and refine it with the empirical findings. We hope that by doing so, we can identify synergies between the theoretical conceptualization (Epper and Mengis, 2004), and real-life settings. We present results in a highly compressed, visualized format that allows for a more concise representation of the subject domain, easy comparisons, and hopefully – reduction of information overload.

As an empirical setting we take the real-life consultancy world, one of the leaders in knowledge intensive economy. The study was done at the Microsoft B.V. (The Netherlands) that has introduced the New World of Work (NWOW) - a vision of Microsoft Corp. first articulated by Bill Gates in May 2005 (Gates III, 2005) and detailed by Dan Rasmus (2005) in the daily life of employees. NWOW identifies and examines technological trends in the changing world, investigates the challenges they present for workers, organizations and governments in the next ten years and describes how investments in technology and practices to empower Information workers can lead to better outcomes. It thereby argues that Information workers are to become the most important type of workers within an organization. Therefore, the vision mostly focuses on Information workers.

Our study investigated a part of Microsoft B.V., viz. Microsoft Services. Within Microsoft Services we focused on one ‘type’ of employees, Microsoft Services Consultants, who are in true considered as the main information processors.

The term Information worker is widely used in the New World of Work environment, and we use it in our research, too. In today’s knowledge economy, when knowledge-based capabilities are becoming more and more important (Whicker, 2004), information workers are the ones who posses knowledge-based capabilities. The importance of the function of information gathering and processing has already been recognized some time ago, by Tushman and Nadler (1978). Also, several authors stress the need for managing knowledge as a product (Wang, 1998) or even state that knowledge capital is of such importance that it should be listed on the balance of a company (Strassmann, 1999). The knowledge worker sector has become important to overall productivity, because of size and growth (Drury, 1999).

The term knowledge worker has originally been introduced by Peter F. Drucker, in 1959, as a differentiator between employees that do not own the means of production, and those who do own their means of production. This latter group is the people the knowledge workers; they ‘produce’ with their brain and ‘sell’ brain-hours to the organization. By contrast, manual workers typically do not own the factory equipment they use to produce their output. This way of identifying knowledge workers is not very clear, and as a result various augmenting descriptions of knowledge workers exist. In particular, Knowledge Work has been defined as a profession, as a characteristic of individuals, as an individual activity and as organizational behavior (see Kelloway, 2000, for a discussion of these four ways of defining Knowledge Work).

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Complete Chapter List

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Table of Contents
Preface
Tanya Bondarouk, Huub Ruel, Karine Guiderdoni-Jourdain, Ewan Oiry
Chapter 1
Steve Foster
Several organisations have adopted e-HRM technology as a platform for achieving transformational change, improving HR operational processes... Sample PDF
Making Sense of e-HRM: Transformation, Technology and Power Relations
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Chapter 2
Cataldo Dino Ruta
Intellectual capital is today considered a key issue in analyzing the critical determinants of company performance. Companies design more and more... Sample PDF
HR Portal: A Tool for Contingent and Individualized HRM
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Chapter 3
Barbara Imperatori, Marco De Marco
The evolution of the managerial discourse is the result of fashion lifecycles that sometimes have no rational or technical foundations and find no... Sample PDF
E-Work and Labor Processes Transformation
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Chapter 4
Gerwin Koopman, Ronald Batenburg
This chapter theoretically and empirically addresses the notion that user participation and involvement is one of the important factors for IS... Sample PDF
Early User Involvement and Participation in Employee Self-Service Application Deployment: Theory and Evidence from Four Dutch Governmental Cases
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Chapter 5
Karine Guiderdoni-Jourdain, Ewan Oiry
In organizations, researchers as well as professionals have generally observed insufficient use of computer technologies when compared to their... Sample PDF
Does User Centered Design, Coherent with Global Corporate Strategy, Encourage Development of Human Resource Intranet Use?
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Chapter 6
Nawaf Al-Ibraheem, Huub Ruël
Companies new to the e-HRM technologies are overwhelmed by the dilemma of choosing either the ready-made, off-the-shelf e-HRM systems, or develop... Sample PDF
In-House vs. Off-the-Shelf e-HRM Applications
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Chapter 7
Pieternel Kuiper, Betsy van Dijk
Adaptation of electronic forms (e-forms) seems to be a step forward to reduce the burden for people who fill in forms. Municipalities more and more... Sample PDF
Adaptive Municipal Electronic Forms
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Chapter 8
Hazel Williams, Carole Tansley, Carley Foster
Global, enterprise-wide, information systems (GEIS) projects are often delayed with budget over-runs often due to a lack of understanding of the key... Sample PDF
HRIS Project Teams Skills and Knowledge: A Human Capital Analysis
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Chapter 9
Adam Smale, Jukka-Pekka Heikkilä
The design and implementation of a globally integrated e-HRM system within a multinational corporation (MNC) requires different parties to reach... Sample PDF
IT-Based Integration of HRM in a Foreign MNC Subsidiary: A Micro-Political Perspective
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Chapter 10
Huub Ruël
Research on Human Resource Information Systems (HRIS) implementation lacks theoretical depth and richness. For that reason this paper applies a... Sample PDF
Studying Human Resource Information Systems Implementation using Adaptive Structuration Theory: The Case of an HRIS Implementation at Dow Chemical Company
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Chapter 11
Jonas F. Puck, Dirk Holtbrügge, Alexander T. Mohr
This chapter empirically analyses the influence of the cultural context on the comprehensiveness to which companies in different countries make use... Sample PDF
Applicant Information and Selection Strategies in Corporate Web Site Recruiting: The Role of National Culture
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Chapter 12
Emma Parry, Shaun Tyson
HR practitioners are often expected to be both efficient administrators of the employment relationship and to act as a strategic partner to the... Sample PDF
What is the Potential of E-Recruitment to Transform the Recruitment Process and the Role of the Resourcing Team?
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Chapter 13
Pramilla Rao
This chapter will address the role of national culture on e-recruitment practices in India and Mexico. The GLOBE (Global Leadership and... Sample PDF
The Role of National Culture on E-Recruitment in India and Mexico
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Chapter 14
Marielba Zacarias, Rodrigo Magalhães, José Tribolet
This chapter will address the role of national culture on e-recruitment practices in India and Mexico. The GLOBE (Global Leadership and... Sample PDF
Modeling Human Resources in the Emergent Organization
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Chapter 15
Elfi Furtmueller, Celeste Wilderom, Rolf van Dick
In order to maintain their customer base, many e-recruiting firms are in need of developing innovations. The Lead User (LU) Method has been heralded... Sample PDF
Utilizing the Lead User Method for Promoting Innovation in E-Recruiting
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Chapter 16
Sven Laumer, Andreas Eckhardt
In 2007 Erickson and Gratton asked “What it means to work here” and discussed the need for a structured approach to establishing an employer image... Sample PDF
What Makes the Difference? Introducing an Integrated Information System Architecture for Employer Branding and Recruiting
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Chapter 17
Karine Guiderdoni-Jourdain
The subject of our communication will be a better understanding of how the regulation between the on line HR designers and HR experts is built, and... Sample PDF
The Enrichment of the HR Intranet Linked to the Regulation's Process Between HR Actors
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Chapter 18
Tanya Bondarouk, Vincent ter Horst, Sander Engbers
This research focuses on acceptance of Human Resource Information Systems (HRIS) in medium sized organizations. We look at general SME’s in The... Sample PDF
Exploring Perceptions about the Use of e-HRM Tools in Medium Sized Organizations
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Chapter 19
Loubna Tahssain, Mouna Zgheib
The changing business environment and increasing technology is redefining the role of the human resources function. Nowadays, corporations have to... Sample PDF
Perceived Performance of the Human Resource Information Systems (HRIS) and Perceived Performance of the Management of Human Resources (HRM)
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Chapter 20
Leon Welicki, Javier Piqueres Juan, Fernando Llorente Martin, Victor de Vega Hernandez
Employee life-cycle processes management (hiring new employees, changing their conditions, and dismissing them) is a critical task that has a big... Sample PDF
Employee Life-Cycle Process Management Improvement with Web-Enabled Workflow Systems
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Chapter 21
Manel Guechtouli, Widad Guechtouli
Information Technologies (IT) seem to be affecting individuals and organizations’ communication and behaviors since many years now. This chapter is... Sample PDF
Information Technologies' Impact on Individual Learning Process: The Case of a Community of Practice
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Chapter 22
Valéry Michaux
In a second step, this research shows that ICT poses threats but also offers opportunities for unions and trade unionism. The tensions between... Sample PDF
What are the Main Impacts of Internet and Information and Communication Technology on Unions and Trade Unionism? An Exploratory Research in Europe and North America
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Chapter 23
Isabelle Parot
In this communication, the author attempts to answer the question of coordination in virtual teams (or remote teams). Virtual teams can result from... Sample PDF
Coordination of Virtual Teams: From Trust to Control
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Chapter 24
Jeroen ter Heerdt, Tanya Bondarouk
In this chapter the authors present a revision of the information overload concept elaborated by Eppler and Mengis (2004). The main elements of our... Sample PDF
Information Overload in the New World of Work: Qualitative Study into the Reasons
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Chapter 25
Mitchell van Balen, Tanya Bondarouk
In this chapter the authors consider articles in professional literature regarding Human Resource Centers, with the goal to explore issues raised by... Sample PDF
HR Shared Service Centers: From Brand Management Towards Success
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Key Terms in this Chapter

New World of Work: is the vision by Microsoft that investigates technological trends and the challenges they present for workers, organizations and governments in the next ten years.

Information Overload: is the situation when the information processing requirements exceed the information processing capacities.

Information Workers: are employees who posses knowledge-based capabilities.

Knowledge Workers: are employees that own their means of production (they ‘produce’ with their brain and ‘sell’ brain-hours to the organization) in contrast to manual workers.