NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
ERIC Number: ED531777
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 253
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1095-1325-7
Temporal Patterns of Communication in the Workplace
Su, Norman Makoto
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, University of California, Irvine
In this dissertation, we report on results of an in-depth observational study to understand the temporal dimension of communication in the workplace. By employing the "shadowing" method for in situ to-the-second data gathering of information workers' behaviors, we gained a detailed snapshot of informants' workdays, "warts and all." Our ethnographic inquiry was conducted on 30 employees from two separate companies. Each informant was observed for a minimum of three whole workdays (e.g., 8AM-5PM). Time has long been ignored as a unit of analysis because of the lack of real, time-stamped data of information workers and the difficulty in carrying out data analysis of temporal data. This work is a first step to redressing this gap of socio-technical research in the workplace. Specifically, this dissertation seeks to understand "how information workers draw on multiple forms of media through "temporal structures" to accomplish work". Three patterns of temporal structures reflecting media appropriation were discovered: (1) communication chains, varied media use one after another in rapid succession, (2) a working sphere's (project) routineness, a continuous, rather than discrete scale of regularity in media use, and (3) day patterns about lunchtime, reflecting different strategies for multitasking media with the lunch "interruption." In the course of our investigation, we developed the workplace connector construct to describe multitasking among different sets of people. Quantitative analysis with psychometric measures of stress, productivity, and personality are tied with qualitative methods drawn from grounded theory to develop a rich story of how time structures much of our communicative and solitary work in modern organizations. We posit that these temporal structures encapsulate different approaches people have to appropriating media deftly; such differences can be tied to their reported mental state (e.g., stress). Our study of these micro-scaled temporal structures of media in work suggests that tools for multitasking might benefit by explicitly integrating a temporal lens. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A