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Does supervisors’ mindfulness keep employees from engaging in cyberloafing out of compassion at work?

Pablo Zoghbi-Manrique-de-Lara (Department of Economics and Management, Universidad de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria – Campus de Tafira, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain)
Mercedes Viera-Armas (Morgan Stanley Group Europe, London, UK)
Gabriel De Blasio García (Department of Computers and Systems, Universidad de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria – Campus de Tafira, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain)

Personnel Review

ISSN: 0048-3486

Article publication date: 13 November 2019

Issue publication date: 6 February 2020

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine whether the appearance of cyberloafing at work, that is, the use of the company’s internet connection for personal purposes, may be due to a workplace that lacks mindfulness and compassion. The authors first hypothesize that supervisors’ mindfulness is related to the mindfulness of their direct followers, and that both are related to employees’ compassion at work. The authors also hypothesize that compassion mediates the link between supervisors’ and followers’ mindfulness and cyberloafing, and that empathic concern mediates the link from compassion to cyberloafing.

Design/methodology/approach

A questionnaire was distributed to followers working in groups of three with the same leader in all of the 100 banks in London (UK). Supervisors and their direct reports (n=100) and 100 triads of followers (n=300) participated. The authors applied structural equation modeling (SEM) for analyses.

Findings

Results showed that supervisors’ and followers’ mindfulness were significantly related to each other and to compassion at work, but compassion acted as a mediator only in the case of supervisors’ mindfulness. Empathic concern mediated the compassion-cyberloafing link.

Research limitations/implications

The study could suffer from mono-method/source bias and specificities of banks and their work processes can raise concerns about the generalizability of the results.

Practical implications

Findings suggest that mindfulness training may facilitate compassion at work, which, in turn, will restrain the occurrence of cyberloafing at work.

Originality/value

This is the first study to analyze how and why employees refrain from harming their organizations out of compassion.

Keywords

Citation

Zoghbi-Manrique-de-Lara, P., Viera-Armas, M. and De Blasio García, G. (2020), "Does supervisors’ mindfulness keep employees from engaging in cyberloafing out of compassion at work?", Personnel Review, Vol. 49 No. 2, pp. 670-687. https://doi.org/10.1108/PR-12-2017-0384

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited

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