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When work and life boundaries are blurred: the effect of after-hours work communication through communication technology on employee outcomes

Katie Haejung Kim (University of Minnesota Twin Cities, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA)
Myoung-Gi Chon (School of Communication and Journalism, Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama, USA)

Journal of Communication Management

ISSN: 1363-254X

Article publication date: 20 October 2022

Issue publication date: 28 November 2022

134

Abstract

Purpose

As new work environments have been created and accelerated due to technological advances, after-hours work communication has become one of the prominent features of the technology-enabled work environment. Grounded in the conservation of resources theory, this study aims to uncover the effects of after-hours work communication through communication technologies on employees' burnout and extra-role behaviors.

Design/methodology/approach

The study conducted an online survey of 315 US full-time employees from a wide range of industrial sectors.

Findings

The findings of the study show that after-hours work communication through communication technologies increases employees' negative extra-role behaviors, specifically counterproductive work behavior and negative word-of-mouth. Furthermore, emotional exhaustion partially mediated the relationship between after-hours work communication and negative extra-role behaviors.

Practical implications

The study provides practical implications for an organization's effective optimization of work-related communication to overcome adverse consequences for employees and organizations. Corporate leaders and communication professionals are encouraged to establish clear guidelines related to the use of communication technologies after hours and exercise leadership practices to prevent after-hours communication through communication technologies from contributing to employees' burnout.

Originality/value

The findings enhance the understanding of the role of after-hours work communication through communication technologies in the workplace by revealing how the effects of after-hours work communication enabled by communication technologies on employees' psychological well-being spills over to organizational effectiveness.

Keywords

Citation

Kim, K.H. and Chon, M.-G. (2022), "When work and life boundaries are blurred: the effect of after-hours work communication through communication technology on employee outcomes", Journal of Communication Management, Vol. 26 No. 4, pp. 386-400. https://doi.org/10.1108/JCOM-06-2022-0073

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited

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