Exploring the Effects of Enterprise Instant Messaging Presence Information on Employee Attendance in a Distributed Workforce: An Ethnographic Study of a Large Professional Services Organization
International Journal of e-Collaboration (IJeC), Vol. 8, No. 3, pp. 1-18
18 Pages Posted: 7 Jul 2012
Date Written: July 6, 2012
According to John Adams’ equity theory for employee motivation, employees place great importance on relative effort, or input relative to its outcomes, at the work place. However, as the actual employee productivity is often difficult to estimate, anecdotal evidence suggests that employees frequently tend to compare the average number of hours worked per day. Geographically distributed or mobile workforces are of particular interest because such employees may not easily be able to physically observe their co-workers and, thus, estimate their relative effort. Instant Messaging (IM) has recently been adopted in many workplaces; yet, research on any potential effects that IM presence awareness feature may have on employee attendance in a distributed workforce is virtually non-existent. This paper aims to bridge that gap in the literature by presenting relevant findings, which have been derived on from a 12 month long ethnographic study of a large professional services organization. We show that, depending on the relative employee power relationship, presence awareness information may have significant positive or negative effects on a range of employee attendance dimensions.
Keywords: Enterprise Instant Messaging, Presence Awareness, Employee Attendance, Qualitative Research, Interpretive Research, Ethnography
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