Benefits and stressors - Perceived effects of ICT use on employee health and work stress: An exploratory study from Austria and Hong Kong

Katharina Ninaus, Department of Marketing and International Management, Alpen-Adria Universitaet Klagenfurt
Sandra Diehl, Department of Media and Communication, Alpen-Adria Universitaet Klagenfurt
Ralf Terlutter, Department of Marketing and International Management, Alpen-Adria Universitaet Klagenfurt
Kara Chan, Department of Communication Studies, Hong Kong Baptist University
Anqi Huang, Department of Communication Studies, Hong Kong Baptist University
Soly Erlandsson

Abstract

© 2015 K. Ninaus et al.Stress has become a mass phenomenon in the modern workplace. The use of information and communication technologies is beginning to receive greater attention in the context of occupational stress. An exploratory qualitative study was conducted to examine both stressors and benefits resulting from technologies among practitioners in the advertising, public relations, and journalism industry in Hong Kong and Austria. Results suggest that technologies allow instant availability, which facilitates communication processes as well as information exchange. Notably, modern technologies enable employees to organize their work with greater temporal and spatial flexibility, thus creating an opportunity for better balancing work and private life. However, evolving technologies have come with a cost; the pressure to be constantly available via technologies constitutes a major source of stress, increasing the risk of experiencing prolonged work stress and its adverse consequences on employee health and well-being, such as a burnout. Furthermore, findings suggest that availability pressure may be attributed to an inner obligation rather than to an organizational expectation. Hence, making employees aware of their connectivity behaviour may help to diminish the experience of technology-induced work stress and improve and maintain employees' health and well-being in the long term. Practical implications, limitations, and future research directions are provided.