Background to the research
The purpose of this research is to examine cyberslacking tendencies at a workplace utilising a validated scale together with investigating personality factors that may influence the behaviour as well as employee work engagement- in simple terms, we want to know whether your cyberslacking tendencies are linked with your personality characteristics and work engagement. In order to achieve this, it is crucial to understand the proper meaning and consequences of cyberslacking, a concept that has often been measured without employing validated and coherent instruments yielding mixed findings in the literature.
Cyberslacking, The Big Five personality characteristics and work engagement
Cyberslacking refers to employees’ use of their employers’ Internet access during work hours for non-work-related purposes (Lim, 2002). This can include surfing non-work-related Internet sites, online shopping, instant messaging and utilising social networking websites such as Facebook and Twitter. Cyberslacking is generally thought to be a work-avoidance strategy that mostly serves as a means of expressing workplace grievances, and to a lesser extent, as a source of personal gratification (Garrett & Danzinger, 2007) or simply because employees are bored (Chamorro-Premuzic, 2010). However, some findings have indicated that some form of cyberslacking in the workplace can be a healthy recipe for a productive work life (Oravec, 2002). It has also been found that cyberslacking does not always lead to work inefficiency (Mahatanankoon et al., 2004) as previously thought.
The Big Five is a theory of personality assessment and measurement. The factors and archetypal characteristics for each factor are: Extraversion (talkative and assertive), Agreeableness (good-natured and cooperative), Conscientiousness (responsible and achievement oriented), Emotional Stability (insecure, tense and nervous [negative pole]), Openness to Experience (imaginative and artistic) (Barrick & Mount, 1993). Recent research has indicated that there is a main effect of Big-Five personality traits (Agreeableness, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Neuroticism, and Openness to Experience) on cyberslacking (Krishnan, 2010).
Work engagement is defined as a positive, fulfilling, work related state of mind (Schaufeli, 2002) and a feeling responsible for and committed to superior job performance (Britt, 2003). Research on engagement has indicated that engagement is associated with positive job attitudes (Bakker et al., 2005) and that having engaged employees results in higher shareholder return, profitability, productivity, quality, and customer satisfaction as well as lower absenteeism and turnover (Wellins et al., 2009).
To the knowledge of the researches, no other study up to date has investigated employee work engagement and personality factors together with cyberslacking. These factors could influence the tendency to engage in personal web usage at work which then can influence many work related outcomes.
Given the mixed research findings regarding cyberslacking, mostly due to the use of non validated measurement scales, it is imperative to investigate the true impact of cyberslacking at a workplace.
If you would like further information on our research please contact us (firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com).
Tiia Ojamaa, MSc (Psychology)
Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, PhD