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Is it the more the merrier? An exploratory study into the growing problem of information overload

Lee Zhuang (Business School, Staffordshire University, Stoke‐on‐Trent, UK)
Yi Qiu (International Business School, Beijing Foreign Studies University, Beijing, China)
Long Peng (Beijing Foreign Studies University, Beijing, China)

Journal of Technology Management in China

ISSN: 1746-8779

Article publication date: 15 February 2011

Abstract

Purpose

This research seeks to uncover some empirical evidence on how prevalent the problem of information overload has become, how it has affected the performance of organisations.

Design/methodology/approach

Set in the context of the information‐intensive tourism industry, this exploratory study examined the top two state‐owned tour operators in China. Using semi‐structured group interviews supplemented by a questionnaire survey, the empirical evidence gathered was examined to identify key themes concerning information overload.

Findings

The problem was felt more by the front line operatives than those who managed them. Increasing tiredness, high stress levels and more mistakes made at work were amongst the symptoms. Factors specific to the tourism industry included poor clarity in job division and task procedures, low standardisation of job contents, inter‐team work, and loose team structures. Experience, training and staff motivation were identified as possible ways to address the problem.

Research limitations/implications

To fully appreciate the strategic impact of the problem of information overload on corporate performance, considerable further research needs to be carried out involving organisations in different sizes and forms operating in difference industries across different countries.

Practical implications

This paper adds practical value by providing some empirical evidence to complement the growing body of anecdotal evidence demonstrating how information explosion especially through the internet is having an adverse impact on corporate performance.

Originality/value

This paper fulfils an identified need to study how the growing phenomenon of information overload is affecting corporate performance, especially in the information‐intensive industry of travel and tourism.

Keywords

Citation

Zhuang, L., Qiu, Y. and Peng, L. (2011), "Is it the more the merrier? An exploratory study into the growing problem of information overload", Journal of Technology Management in China, Vol. 6 No. 1, pp. 69-83. https://doi.org/10.1108/17468771111105668

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited