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What is Communicative Multitasking

Handbook of Research on Virtual Workplaces and the New Nature of Business Practices
The process of having more than one communicative exchange (for example, IM, telephone, or face-to-face) with one or more interlocutors at the same time.
Published in Chapter:
Instant Messaging (IM) Literacy in the Workplace
Beth L. Hewett (Independent Scholar, USA) and Russell J. Hewett (University of Illinois Urbana Champaign, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-893-2.ch032
This chapter discusses instant messaging (IM) as a valuable digital tool that has influenced business communication practices at least as much as e-mail. It argues that IM’s characteristics of presence awareness, synchronicity, hybridity, and interactivity create a unique set of writing and reading experiences. These functional qualities both require and hone high-level writing and reading skills, which are used powerfully in communicative multitasking. The authors believe that IM should be sanctioned in the workplace and that IM use should be a subject of focused training; to that end, they provide a practical, literacy-based training sequence that can be adapted to various settings.
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