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Christina's LIS Rant
Friday, November 23, 2007
  IM=Interruption Management?
Garrett, R. K., & Danziger, J. N. (2007). IM=Interruption management? Instant messaging and disruption in the workplace. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 13(1), article 2. http://jcmc.indiana.edu/vol13/issue1/garrett.html

HA!

Abstract:
Some scholars worry that Instant Messaging (IM), by virtue of the ease with which users can initiate and participate in online conversations, contributes to an increase in task interruption. Others argue that workers use IM strategically, employing it in ways that reduce interruption. This article examines the relationship between IM and interruption, using data collected via a (U.S.) national telephone survey of full-time workers who regularly use computers (N=912). Analysis of these data indicates that IM use has no influence on overall levels of work communication. However, people who utilize IM at work report being interrupted less frequently than non-users, and they engage in more frequent computer-mediated communication than non-users, including both work-related and personal communication. These results are consistent with claims that employees use IM in ways that help them to manage interruption, such as quickly obtaining task-relevant information and negotiating conversational availability.

HA! (again...)

Interesting things here:
"the distributions of IM users' occupational classifications, education levels, gender, and age are statistically indistinguishable from respondents who do not use IM during work (based on Chi-square statistics)."

Essentially: the participants communicate a lot; IM is probably taking the place of *more* disruptive media such as phone, in person, e-mail; IM allows people to manage interruptions by not responding, requesting to delay conversation (busy - can I get back to you?), or by responding very tersely; not a disruption if you can get a quick answer to allow you to complete ongoing work.

(as an added plus: we've just covered chi-squared in my stats class so this was a nice example of how to use it)
 
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This is my blog on library and information science. I'm into Sci/Tech libraries, special libraries, personal information management, sci/tech scholarly comms.... My name is Christina Pikas and I'm a librarian in a physics, astronomy, math, computer science, and engineering library. I'm also a doctoral student at Maryland. Any opinions expressed here are strictly my own and do not necessarily reflect those of my employer or CLIS. You may reach me via e-mail at cpikas {at} gmail {dot} com.

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Christina Kirk Pikas

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