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Why do workers feel “tied” to their mobile devices? And is this a bad thing?

In an iLEAD-funded study that was conducted in 2013 at a multispecialty group practice and healthcare provider of a large Midwestern teaching hospital, Drs. Jenny Hoobler (UIC) and Wendy Casper (University of Texas at Arlington), and Morgan Wilson (Mount St. Mary’s University), discovered that workers with

  • Stronger relational identities (“My close relationships are an important reflection of who I am”)
  • A higher drive to manage their impression with others (“Stay at work late so people know I am hard working”)
  • Who were higher in conscientiousness (“efficient; organized”) were the ones who felt the most psychologically and physically dependent on their mobile communication devices.
Other findings:

The more responsive workers were to smartphone interruptions from work while not working, the more they reported

  • Higher job stress
  • Greater work‐to-family conflict (the job interfering with their personal life), which decreased their career satisfaction; and the more their family members reported
  • Work-to-family conflict. Which employees were the most likely to respond to a smartphone interruption from work while not at work?
  • Workers with the highest workloads
  • Those with the strongest work identities (“I invest a large part of myself in my work”).