A Survey of Multitasking Behaviors in Organizations
Individual and organizational differences in multitasking have been largely ignored by previous research. As both individual employee and organizational characteristics exert unique and important influences on an organizational system, this study tentatively explores relationships between multitasking and individual differences and organizational outcomes. The individual differences include age, gender, personality, position in organization, tenure with employer, and industry. Organizational outcomes include commitment, job satisfaction, and pay satisfaction. A survey was administered to graduate students and alumni in an Executive MBA program, and an undergraduate business degree program. The study found that multitasking behaviors are widely occurring in the workplace, but employees’ perceptions about multitasking conflict with their reported behavior. The results indicate that the productivity losses from multitasking and interruptions are substantial, yet very few companies provide training on how to multitask effectively. The findings also provide evidence of a possible generational component in multitasking effectiveness.
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