Cyberloafing in the Workplace

Cyberloafing in the Workplace

Christine A. Henle (Colorado State University, USA) and Uma Kedharnath (Colorado State University, USA)
Copyright: © 2012 |Pages: 14
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-0315-8.ch048
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Cyberloafing is employees’ intentional use of Internet technology during work hours for personal purposes. This can include surfing non-work related Internet sites, sending personal emails, online gaming, or social networking. Given the prevalence of cyberloafing and its negative consequences (e.g., reduced productivity, network clogging, security breaches), organizations have responded by implementing Internet use policies, filtering or monitoring Internet activity, and disciplining policy violators. Recently, attention has shifted away from identifying methods to limit cyberloafing to pinpointing the causes of cyberloafing. This emerging research suggests that employees are more likely to cyberloaf when they are treated unfairly, have certain characteristics like external locus of control or higher work status, have positive attitudes toward cyberloafing, or there are norms supporting it. The authors offer directions for future research that include exploring the possibility that cyberloafing can lead to positive outcomes like increased job performance, reduced stress, and work-life balance.
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Historical Background

Traditionally, research on cyberloafing has been descriptive (Lim, 2002). These studies have examined the frequency that employees cyberloaf and the particular types of Internet sites they visit. Once the prevalence of cyberloafing was documented, attention then turned to developing reactive solutions to it. This body of work focused on identifying ways that organizations can prevent or minimize cyberloafing and included things like implementing Internet use policies, using filtering or monitoring software, and disciplining those caught cyberloafing. Below we describe the historical development of a typology of cyberloafing as well as the generation of deterrent methods for cyberloafing.

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