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Sociological Mechanisms Behind ICT-Related Technostress in the Workplace

Information Technology in Organisations and Societies: Multidisciplinary Perspectives from AI to Technostress

ISBN: 978-1-83909-813-0, eISBN: 978-1-83909-812-3

Publication date: 11 June 2021


In highly digitalised countries such as Denmark, statistics show that one out of four employees has experienced high levels of stress. However, despite ample research evidence on the presence of technostress, the knowledge on this phenomenon is not yet part of the material and guidelines from official authorities. Previous research on technostress provides quantitative psychological and neurophysiological perspectives on technostress, focussing on the individual, the technology or the technological environment. The authors see this as a limited approach, as it leaves out the social environment in which technostress arises. The authors aim to expose the sociological mechanisms that contribute to technostress by using the sociological lens of obligation. The authors ask: ‘What is the knowledge that the sociological lens of obligation can bring to the theoretical understanding of technostress?’ To answer our research question, the authors employ an embedded case study in Denmark by looking into the existing political material and interviews with 14 employees across 6 organisations. The authors find that stress in practice is mostly addressed from a response perspective, which points to the individual. This view is inherent in how the individuals take responsibility for the technostress they experience. Another critical finding from our data is that technostress is socially constructed. The authors contribute to theory by using a new-to-IS theory and a qualitative approach to technostress research, which allows us to uncover how the social construction of obligation impacts the individual employee. Our theoretical contributions point to a need for practice to move in the direction of seeing technostress as a societal, rather than solely individual, responsibility.



Stana, R. and Nicolajsen, H.W. (2021), "Sociological Mechanisms Behind ICT-Related Technostress in the Workplace", Lee, Z.W.Y., Chan, T.K.H. and Cheung, C.M.K. (Ed.) Information Technology in Organisations and Societies: Multidisciplinary Perspectives from AI to Technostress, Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 85-110.



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