Over the past two decades, the usage of smartphones and laptops has become an essential part of everyday professional life. Despite facilitating employees in accomplishing job assignments, these devices can also negatively affect employee productivity by affording the opportunity to engage in cyberloafing behaviour.
This research suggests that moral disengagement weakens the effect of internal CSR on workplace boredom, such that for employees high in moral disengagement, the level of internal CSR has a weaker effect on workplace boredom.
A paper by Inam Ul Haq, Associate Professor at EMLV, Marc Ohana, Ghulam Murtaza, Esraa Al‑Shatti, and Zhang Chi published in the Journal of Business Ethics in February 2023.
Unveiling the link: Poor internal CSR, workplace boredom, and cyberloafing
Cyberloafing refers to “any voluntary act of employees’ using their companies’ internet access during office hours to surf non-job-related websites for personal purposes and to check personal e-mails”.
In practical terms, the cost of cyberloafing has been estimated at around 85 billion dollars per year (Zakrzewski, 2016) and a 40% reduction in employee productivity (Liberman et al., 2011).
Our study highlights the mechanism of why and how employees engage in counterproductive cyberloafing behaviors. We explain that when companies display poor employee internal CSR, that can make employees feel unchallenged and bored at work.
To overcome emotional strain and conditions of this nature, employees may engage in other non-work-related activities, such as cyberloafing, because this helps them to cope with boredom. Furthermore, our research also investigates that morally disengaged employees might experience a lower level of workplace boredom in case of poor internal CSR.
In short, when an organization does not genuinely address its social obligations toward its employees, morally disengaged employees are less likely to experience workplace boredom. Therefore, the association between perceived internal CSR and workplace boredom may be weakened for highly morally disengaged individuals.
The results of our cross-sectional, experimental, and three-wave studies inform managers about why and when employees feel bored at the workplace and engage in cyberloafing; when realizing that their organization does not care about their welfare, and under such conditions, employees are more likely to engage in cyberloafing behaviours.
Harnessing CSR for productivity and engagement: strategies to mitigate cyberloafing
Managers should thus pay attention and focus on CSR activities, as CSR pays off in the form of not only creating competitive advantage by developing a more industrious, helpful, and loyal workforce but also by reducing employee boredom that ultimately leads to cyberloafing among internal stakeholders, they tend to avoid engaging in activities that harm the organization’s well-being, such as cyberloafing.
Furthermore, it is important for organizations to hire socially responsible employees (e.g., by considering individual CSR values in recruitment), provide CSR-related training and seminars, recognize social performance in appraisals, and link these to financial rewards.
An organization’s effective CSR communication can help employees pay attention to the organization’s attitude toward CSR initiatives, encourage them to participate in CSR programs and behave in accordance with CSR norms.
Enhancing CSR Impact: combating cyberloafing through stakeholder goodwill and ethical hiring
When employees notice that an organization’s CSR practices create goodwill among internal stakeholders, they tend to avoid engaging in activities that harm the organization’s well-being, such as cyberloafing.
Finally, our findings show that moral disengagement weakens the effect of internal CSR on workplace boredom. Based on this finding, we suggest that organizations use HRM practices in selecting employees with low moral disengagement, especially for ethically sensitive jobs.
Liberman, B., Seidman, G., McKenna, K. Y. A., & Buffardi, L. E. (2011). Employee job attitudes and organizational characteristics as predictors of cyberloafing. Computers in Human Behavior, 27(6), 2192–2199.
Zakrzewski, C. (2016). The key to getting workers to stop wasting time online. The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved from https:// www. wsj. com/ artic les/ the- key- to- getti ng- worke rs- to- stop- wasti ng- timeonline- 14579 21545.
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