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Title: Strategic activity and email interruptions : the relationship between wellbeing, multi-goal priorities and individual differences in dealing with email interruptions in goal-directed work
Author: Russell, Emma
Awarding Body: University of Surrey
Current Institution: University of Surrey
Date of Award: 2006
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Interruptions research is heavily reliant on a paradigm involving 'enforced interruption'. Email use however constitutes a special form of 'controlled interruption'. Because people have control over when and how they respond to incoming email, email interruptions provide an excellent tool for exploring strategic behaviour at work. This thesis uses the goal-directed theories of Action Regulation Theory (ART: Hacker, 1985; 1994) and Hockey's (1997, 2000, 2002) cognitive-energetical compensatory control model to frame research into strategic behaviour across three research phases. Using a multimethodological and multi-analysis approach, and in common with recommendations from the goal-directed theories, the experiences of 134 real email users, executing real strategies for dealing with email interruptions were examined within their authentic work environments. Semi-structured interviews and diary methodology, using content analysis and multilevel random coefficient modelling (MRCM), revealed that: Wellbeing is both an antecedent and consequence of strategic behaviour in dealing with email interruptions. Individual differences - measured using structured, taxonomical personality and motivational style inventories - are directly linked to strategy choice, consequential wellbeing, and the prioritisation of different goals at work, when dealing with email interruptions. They also moderate the relationship between strategy choice and wellbeing. In multi-goal enVironments, people's strategies for dealing with email interruptions depend in part on how they prioritise the email against the task (in a stage labelled the negotiation lag), and whether this relates to decisions to satisfy their current task goals, other work goals and wellbeing goals. In satisfying one goal (e.g., a work goal) this doesn't necessarily mean that other goals (e.g., for wellbeing) will suffer. This thesis asserts that such findings are novel and unique, and that they address shortcomings in the goal-directed theories, and in the way that interruptions have been studied to date. Implications for theory and practice are highlighted.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Economic and Social Research Council ; University of Surrey
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Business and management studies ; Computer science and informatics ; Psychology