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Negative outcomes of ICT use at work: meta-analytic evidence and the role of job autonomy

Hadi Karimikia (Maynooth University, Maynooth, Ireland)
Harminder Singh (Auckland University of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand)
Damien Joseph (Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, Singapore)

Internet Research

ISSN: 1066-2243

Article publication date: 24 August 2020

Issue publication date: 4 February 2021




Individuals can improve their task performance by using information and communications technology (ICT). However, individuals who use ICT may also suffer from negative outcomes, such as burnout and anxiety, which lead to poorer performance and well-being. While researchers have studied the positive outcomes of ICT use in the aggregate, the same has not been done for negative outcomes.


This study uses a meta-analysis of 52 studies to examine the relationship between ICT use and negative outcomes, and the influence of job autonomy on ICT use and the negative outcomes of ICT use. Job autonomy is relevant because a higher level of job autonomy allows individuals to decide how, how often and when they will use ICT that is causing negative outcomes for their work.


The results of the meta-analysis revealed that ICT use increased negative job outcomes and that, unexpectedly, autonomy exacerbated this effect.

Research limitations/implications

The results of this study point to the prevalence of negative outcomes from ICT use among individuals. Researchers should study how users may potentially restrict the value that organizations may be able to obtain from the implementation of new systems, especially whether individual-level negative outcomes could coalesce into a collective resistance. There also needs to be further research into the motivating and inhibiting roles of autonomy in enhancing ICT use, while mitigating its negative impacts simultaneously.


The study provides an aggregate analysis of the negative impacts of ICT use among individuals and the role of autonomy in the relationship.



We would like to thank the editor and reviewers for their valuable feedback. Hadi Karimikia would like to acknowledge support from the Marie Curie Fellowship. This study is based on the conference paper “Information Technology Use, Job Autonomy & Negative Outcomes: a Meta-Analysis” presented at the 27th European Conference of Information Systems (ECIS) (June 8–14 2019), at Stockholm, Sweden authored by Hadi Karimikia and Harminder Singh.Dr Hadi Karimikia is supported by the Marie Curie Fellowship.


Karimikia, H., Singh, H. and Joseph, D. (2021), "Negative outcomes of ICT use at work: meta-analytic evidence and the role of job autonomy", Internet Research, Vol. 31 No. 1, pp. 159-190.



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