Impulse Control and Internet Addiction Disorder among Business Professionals

By Bell, Reginald L.; Choudhury, Dibyendu et al. | Journal of Organizational Culture, Communications and Conflict, January 1, 2016 | Go to article overview

Impulse Control and Internet Addiction Disorder among Business Professionals


Bell, Reginald L., Choudhury, Dibyendu, Guyot, Wally M., Meier, Robert J., Journal of Organizational Culture, Communications and Conflict


INTRODUCTION

Individuals across the world seek relationship of cooperation and collaboration influenced by the rate at which individuals have allowed the Internet to weave its way into their everyday lives (Hu & Ramirez, 2006). Modern technical innovations have allowed for human interaction to adopt a virtual dimension.

Wikipedia defines Web 2.0 the following way:

A Web 2.0 site may allow users to interact and collaborate with each other in a social media dialogue as creators of user-generated content in a virtual community, in contrast to Web sites where people are limited to the passive viewing of content. (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Web_2.0)

Online communities where individuals are socially connected with communication tools (e.g. Facebook) via the Internet is now commonly known as Web 2.0 (Roebuck, Siha, & Bell, 2013). Online tools have transformed human virtual encounters, including diverse utilities of Web 2.0, such as retailers' marketing to youth and predicting their preferences for mobile device features (Bell, et al., 2009; Engel, et al., 2011; Stark, et al., 2008; Stark, et al., 2009a; Stark, et al., 2009b). Social networking websites-commonly referred to as SNWs- fall into the same category as Web 2.0 and could contribute to a better understanding for future workplace expectations between Indian male and female professionals. Agarwal and Mital (2009) share their findings:

The results of chi-square analysis indicated that there was a significant difference in the extent of sharing of opinions among males and females (p value < .05, hypothesis rejected). The reason for this could be that women in India are still cautious about using SNWs for various reasons. It was also found that there was a significant difference in the respondents ' usage of SNWs for widening ofperspective, when the usage of the Internet was low as compared to high Internet usage by the respondents (p value < .05, hypothesis rejected). This seems to indicate that if usage of the Internet is high, then comfort with using SNWs is also higher. (p. 108)

Gender is an important predictor of Web 2.0 usage (Agbatogun, 2013; Huang, Hood, & Yoo, 2013; Ruleman, 2012). Some researchers, however, are finding little to no differences between genders when it comes to Web 2.0 usage (Kim, Kwon, & Cho, 2011; Sahin & Thompson, 2007). We did find two studies where females were found to be more likely than males to use Web 2.0 as communication tools, such as Facebook (Rovai & Baker, 2005; Ruleman, 2012). The literature suggests that wasted human capital resulting from IAD is correlated to gender differences and income, among other important variables.

The High Cost of IAD to Business

The impulse to use social media can be costly to business. Billions in revenue dollars are lost when employees abuse the Internet while working, which then interferes with their jobs (Young, 2010). Lost productivity, corporate liability and corporate surveillance are now workplace concerns due to abuses and improper uses of Web 2.0 among workers (Bell & Martin, 2014).

Web 2.0 misuse creates new management dilemmas on how to respond to incidences where such misuses pose network security risks when employees are addicted to the Internet at the expense of their productivity. Managers' imperative is to ensure that employees are using computing resources effectively and appropriately. Because of prior research, we now know exactly what the signs and symptoms are for Internet Addiction Disorder (IAD).

When an employee has an impulse-control disorder that does not involve any intoxicant, yet, continues to use the Internet to the detriment of important work, the employee is exhibiting IAD. There are four triggers to excessive Internet use: (1) application is a particular application that influences the employee's addiction; (2) emotion is when the Internet helps the employee relax and/or calm down; (3) cognition is when the Internet acts as therapy for the employee, offering the employee relief from maladaptive thoughts or even catastrophic thinking; and (4) life events include the employee's general dissatisfaction with life, including absence of intimate relationships (Young, 1996). …

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