The way humans interact with one another in the 21st Century has been markedly influenced by the integration of a number of different communication technologies into everyday life, and the pace of communication has increased hugely over the past twenty-five years. This chapter introduces work by the authors that considers the ways one communication-based technology, namely e-mail, has impacted workers’ “thinking time”, and become both a “workplace stressor” and an indispensable communications tool. Our research involved both a longitudinal exploration (three months) of the daily e-mail interactions of a number of workers, and a survey of individuals’ perceptions of how e-mail influences their communication behaviour in general, and their work-related communication in particular. Initial findings, in the form of individual differences, are reported here. The findings are presented in relation to the way workplace stressors have changed over the past quarter century.
Key Terms in this Chapter
Stress: A state that ensues when an individual perceives that they cannot manage the demands being placed upon them.
Locus of Control of Reinforcement: An individual’s perceived control over their behavioural outcomes.
Communication: The exchange of information and meaning between two or more individuals.
Self-Esteem: An individual’s notion of their own self-worth.
E-Mail: Electronic communication, usually primarily text-based, but with the capacity to contain sounds and pictures.
Interruption: An unscheduled, temporary cessation of an ongoing activity.
Individual Differences: The investigation of behavioural differences between individuals.