Instant Messaging as a Task-Support Tool in Information Technology Organizations

Pilar Pazos, Jennifer M Chung, Marina Micari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

20 Scopus citations

Abstract

Fast-paced organizational environments and growing needs for permanent and fast connectivity have steered the adoption of technologies such as instant messaging (IM) for organizational communication. However, the use of IM as a communication tool to support task completion is not well understood. This article reports on an exploratory mixed methods study investigating the use of IM as a communication tool to support task completion and multitasking in information technology organizations. The main purpose was to investigate IM use to support two types of tasks: collaboration and conflict tasks. We used a mixed methods approach incorporating quantitative and qualitative data from interviews and survey instruments. Results from the quantitative analysis suggest a significantly greater use of IM for collaboration tasks than for cognitive conflict tasks. The qualitative data helped in identifying specific tasks in the information technology corporate environment whose completion is supported by IM use. Those tasks were mapped into an existing task framework and analyzed using qualitative methods. Results from the qualitative analysis were used to complement and support the quantitative findings. A secondary goal of this article was to explore the use of IM to support multitasking. Descriptive results on use of IM to multitask are presented. The article concludes with a discussion of the main implications of this study for communication managers.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)68-86
Number of pages19
JournalInternational Journal of Business Communication
Volume50
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2012

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