Instant messenger is being rapidly deployed in the workplace. Current studies largely focus on the adoption of IM and how IM is used. Little research has been conducted to understand the potential impact of using IM in the workplace. This paper theorized and empirically tested how the frequency and social network characteristic of IM interruptions could interact with an individual’s polychronic orientation, i.e. multitasking preference, and jointly influence employee satisfaction and subjective task complexity. The study illustrates that polychrons are more satisfied with the multitasking work process deploying IM technology than monochrons. In addition, the effect of interruptions is dependent upon an individual’s polychronic orientation. The increase in interruption frequency only reduces the process satisfaction of monochrons but not polychrons. Further, the polychronic orientation of message receivers also influences how they process information. When IM messages are sent from their supervisors, monochrons tend to prioritize tasks and perceive a lower level of overall task complexity. The information processing of polychrons seem to be less influenced by the social characteristic of interruptions.
Li, Han and Gupta, Ashish, "Understanding the Impact of Instant Messaging (IM) on Subjective Task Complexity and User Satisfaction" (2009). PACIS 2009 Proceedings. 10.