Original Research

Cross-domain online vigilance, boundary management and stress among knowledge workers

Liezel Conradie, Daniel B. le Roux, Douglas A. Parry
South African Journal of Business Management | Vol 54, No 1 | a3896 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajbm.v54i1.3896 | © 2023 Liezel Conradie, Daniel B. le Roux, Douglas A. Parry | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 17 January 2023 | Published: 30 August 2023

About the author(s)

Liezel Conradie, Department of Information Science, Faculty of Arts and Social Science, Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch, South Africa
Daniel B. le Roux, Department of Information Science, Faculty of Arts and Social Science, Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch, South Africa
Douglas A. Parry, Department of Information Science, Faculty of Arts and Social Science, Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch, South Africa

Abstract

Purpose: High levels of online media use and permanent connectedness are common features of contemporary life in the developed world. In recent studies, the concept of online vigilance has been adopted to describe individuals’ chronic attentional orientation towards and engagement with their online spheres. The present study extends this notion by investigating its role in relation to stress and boundary management.

Design/methodology/approach: A sample of 299 knowledge workers completed an online survey concerning the role of cross-domain online vigilance in the blurring of work-personal boundaries and the potential impact this may have on perceived stress.

Findings/results: Contrary to extant evidence, the findings of this study indicate that cross-domain online vigilance does not predict stress, neither on its own nor when interacting with individuals’ domain segmentation preferences. However, the findings indicate that younger knowledge workers, more than their older colleagues, have trouble disconnecting from their personal online spheres while working.

Practical implications: Work communication policies and norms should enable workers to psychologically disconnect from work during non-working hours and should be sensitive to the differences in personal preferences for boundary segmentation. Constant psychological connection to personal online communication may impact performance among younger knowledge workers.

Originality/value: The present study is the first to consider the notion of online vigilance in relation to boundary management and stress among knowledge workers. The findings are particularly relevant given the increased blurring of work-personal boundaries that results from organisations adopting work-from-anywhere policies following the COVID-19 pandemic.


Keywords

online vigilance; boundary management; boundary blurring; perceived stress; knowledge workers; segmentation preferences.

JEL Codes

D83: Search • Learning • Information and Knowledge • Communication • Belief • Unawareness; M12: Personnel Management • Executives; Executive Compensation; O33: Technological Change: Choices and Consequences • Diffusion Processes

Sustainable Development Goal

Goal 3: Good health and well-being

Metrics

Total abstract views: 1041
Total article views: 1015

 

Crossref Citations

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