Impulse control and internet addiction disorder among business professionals.

Author:Guyot, Wally M.


Individuals across the world seek relationship of cooperation and collaboration influenced by the rate at which individuals have allowed the Internet to weave its way into their everyday lives (Hu & Ramirez, 2006). Modern technical innovations have allowed for human interaction to adopt a virtual dimension.

Wikipedia defines Web 2.0 the following way:

A Web 2.0 site may allow users to interact and collaborate with each other in a social media dialogue as creators of user-generated content in a virtual community, in contrast to Web sites where people are limited to the passive viewing of content. (Source:

Online communities where individuals are socially connected with communication tools (e.g. Facebook) via the Internet is now commonly known as Web 2.0 (Roebuck, Siha, & Bell, 2013). Online tools have transformed human virtual encounters, including diverse utilities of Web 2.0, such as retailers' marketing to youth and predicting their preferences for mobile device features (Bell, et al., 2009; Engel, et al., 2011; Stark, et al., 2008; Stark, et al., 2009a; Stark, et al., 2009b). Social networking websites--commonly referred to as SNWs-fall into the same category as Web 2.0 and could contribute to a better understanding for future workplace expectations between Indian male and female professionals. Agarwal and Mital (2009) share their findings:

The results of chi-square analysis indicated that there was a significant difference in the extent of sharing of opinions among males and females (p value

The High Cost of IAD to Business

The impulse to use social media can be costly to business. Billions in revenue dollars are lost when employees abuse the Internet while working, which then interferes with their jobs (Young, 2010). Lost productivity, corporate liability and corporate surveillance are now workplace concerns due to abuses and improper uses of Web 2.0 among workers (Bell & Martin, 2014).

Web 2.0 misuse creates new management dilemmas on how to respond to incidences where such misuses pose network security risks when employees are addicted to the Internet at the expense of their productivity. Managers' imperative is to ensure that employees are using computing resources effectively and appropriately. Because of prior research, we now know exactly what the signs and symptoms are for Internet Addiction

Disorder (IAD).

When an employee has an impulse-control disorder that does not involve any intoxicant, yet, continues to use the Internet to the detriment of important work, the employee is exhibiting IAD. There are four triggers to excessive Internet use: (1) application is a particular application that influences the employee's addiction; (2) emotion is when the Internet helps the employee relax and/or calm down; (3) cognition is when the Internet acts as therapy for the employee, offering the employee relief from maladaptive thoughts or even catastrophic thinking; and (4) life events include the employee's general dissatisfaction with life, including absence of intimate relationships (Young, 1996). Young (2010) proposed a revised framework to manage employee Internet abuse. Her new model described both prevention and intervention methods to address incidents of online misuse in the workplace and refocused hiring decisions into post-employment training. The model examined the hiring concerns with the new "iGeneration" of college graduates. Acceptable Internet use policies with clear methods of Internet monitoring to enforce workers' compliance with company policies are imperatives.

The most common symptoms of IAD are preoccupation with the Internet at inappropriate times, too much time spent on social-networking sites rather than developing face-to-face relationships in the real world, excessive watching of pornography, escaping negative feelings by time online, weight gain, poor hygiene, carpal tunnel, other physical effects of Internet abuse, and ignoring work and relationships to use the Internet (Control Center, 2014).

Cyber slacking, typically defined as the use of Internet and mobile technology during work hours for personal purposes, is a growing concern for organizations due to the potential in lost revenue; being younger, male, and of a racial minority positively predicted cyber slacking variety and frequency, as do routinized Internet use at work and higher perceived Internet utility (Vitak, Crouse, & LaRose, 2011).

The Internet over the past two decades has significantly influenced people's personal lives. People communicate with each other through Internet facilities such as email services, social web pages, etc. The Internet has influenced so much of our lives that many people get addicted and it has become a serious issue among different societies (Iravani, et al., 2013). In the sparse literature on IAD relating to employees' Internet abuses, we found some evidence that socioeconomic variables such as people's gender, income, poverty, education levels, age, and race might differ in their IAD.

Socioeconomic and Demographic Variables of IAD

Young and Case (2004) examined the effectiveness of emergent risk management practices that attempted to reduce and control employee Internet abuse and its potential for addiction. Over a six month period, fifty usable web-administered surveys were collected. Respondents ranged from human resource managers to company presidents. Data were stored in a database management system and analyzed utilizing statistical measures. Implementation levels of Internet use policies, management training, and clinical rehabilitation were examined; and they discovered effective methods to deter employees' Internet abuses.

Porter and Donthu (2006) found that, although most Americans use the Internet, those who were older, less educated, minority and lower income had lower usage rates than younger, highly educated, white and wealthier individuals. They developed and tested an extended version of the technology acceptance model (TAM) to explain these differences. The model predicted that age, education, income and race were associated differentially with beliefs about the Internet, and that these beliefs influenced a consumer's attitude toward and use of the Internet. Further, they found that although access barriers had a significant effect in the model, perceptions regarding ease of use and usefulness had a stronger effect. The results suggested that by extending the TAM to include perceived access barriers helped explain demographic-based differences in Internet use. They also provided key insights for both managers and policymakers.

Wilson, Fornasier, and White (2010), argued young people increasingly used Myspace and Facebook, to engage with others. The use of the Internet could have both positive and negative effects on the individual; however, few research studies identified the types of people who frequented these Internet sites. The study sought to predict young adults' use of the Internet and addictive tendency toward the use of the Internet from their personality characteristics and levels of self-esteem. University students (N = 201), aged 17 to 24 years, reported their use of the Internet and addictive tendencies for Internet use. The students completed the NEO Five-Factor Personality Inventory and the Cooper-Smith Self-Esteem Inventory. Multiple regression analysis revealed that as a group the personality and self-esteem factors significantly predicted both level of Internet use and addictive tendency but did not explain a large amount of variance in either outcome measure. The findings indicated that extraverted and unconscientious individuals reported higher levels of both Internet use and addictive tendencies.

Kuss and Griffiths (2011) found Internet usage was seen as a 'global consumer phenomenon' with an exponential rise in usage within the last few years. Anecdotal case study evidence suggested that 'addiction' to social networks on the Internet might be a potential mental health problem for some users. Therefore, this literature review was intended to provide empirical and conceptual insight into the emerging phenomenon of addiction to Internet by: (1) outlining Internet usage patterns, (2) examining motivations for Internet usage, (3) examining personalities of Internet users, (4) examining negative consequences of Internet usage, (5) exploring potential Internet addiction, and (6) exploring Internet addiction specificity and comorbidity. The findings indicated that the Internet was predominantly used for social purposes, mostly related to the maintenance of established offline networks. Moreover, extraverts appeared to use social networking sites for social enhancement, whereas introverts used it for social compensation, each of which appeared to be related to greater usage, as did low conscientiousness and high narcissism. Negative correlates of Internet usage included the decrease in real life social community participation and academic achievement, as well as relationship problems, each of which may be indicative of potential addiction.

Marulanda-Carter and Jackson (2012) explored the effect of e-mail interruptions on tasks and explored the concept of e-mail addiction within the workplace. Data were collected from a large car rental company in the UK. The first collection method involved observing the effects of simulated e-mail interruptions on seven employees by measuring the interrupt handling time, the interrupt recovery time, and the additional time required to complete the task given the number of interruptions.

A study by Madalin Octavian Vanea (2011) examined the relationship between the Internet usage, Internet usage's purposes, gender and the dimensions of Internet addiction. Participants in the study were 100 professionals from Bucharest, Romania (57 males, 43 females, aged 23 - 55 years, M = 32, 70, SD = 8.28). The data were collected by a questionnaire related to the...

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