Title

MANAGING THE ATTENTION CONSTRAINT

Abstract

Recent information and communication technologies (ICT) enable organizations and individuals to communicate anywhere anytime and thus exacerbate the information overload challenge. Attention is considered as the scarcest resource in modern organizations. The ability of managers to effectively manage their own attention, as well their organization's attention, is crucial for the success of both the manager and the organization.
This research-in-progress paper draws on the Theory of Constraints (TOC) for analyzing the organizational attention constraint. TOC has provided numerous organizations worldwide with significant performance improvements. According to TOC, management should focus on the few constraints that prevent the organization from achieving its goal. This paper presents the systematic steps of applying the TOC concepts, and demonstrates them in the context of organizational attention. The attention resource is unique because it is virtually impractical to fully control it. Internal and external stakeholders may gain access to an organization's attention resources even if the organization and the individuals involved are not interested in paying attention to a particular matter.
Organizations use mobile devices and other ICT to provide their employees with remote access to their information systems, and thus gain more attention resources. The borders between work time and personal time have become blurred, and the practice of constant availability has undesirable effects on work-life balance and on employees' quality of life. This research-in-progress contributes to both theory and practice by using TOC for analyzing the organizational attention constraint while considering the employees' well-being, and suggesting practical insights for managing the attention constraint.

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