Uncivil servants: Cyberloafing and other misbehavior in organizations

J.W. Ouwerkerk, A. Kalkman, M. Houterman

Research output: Contribution to ConferenceAbstractOther research output


Although the internet has had many benefits for organizations, employees may misuse their workplace internet access by surfing non-job related Web sites for personal purposes and by both checking and sending personal e-mail. These activities may constitute an unproductive use of time in that they distract employees from carrying out and completing their main job duties (Lim, 2000). Within the domain of organizational communication, however, no research exists into the antecedents of so-called cyberloafing. In fact, research on organizational behavior in general has predominantly focused on the positive side. That is, researchers have continued to direct most of their attention on how various behaviors benefit organizations and the antecedent conditions of these behaviors. For example, many studies have investigated how processes within an organization affect such variables as job satisfaction, job performance and so-called “Organizational Citizenship Behavior” or OCB (behavior considered above and beyond the call of duty). By contrast, the research discussed in this presentation will focus on the dark side of organizational behavior. This dark side consists of behaviors that are believed to be injurious to an organization, although the costs cannot always be readily measured (cf. Griffin & O’Leary-Kelly, in press). Dark side behaviors may vary from inappropriate absenteeism and antisocial behavior towards co-workers, to theft and destruction of organizational property. In the literature these behaviors have been identified as “antisocial behaviors” (Giacalone & Greenberg, 1997), “anticitizenship behaviors” (Ball, Trevino, & Sims, 1994), “counterproductive work behaviors” (Fox, Spector, & Miles, 2001) or “deviant workplace behaviors” (Robinson & Bennet, 1995). Our presentation will especially focus on cyberloafing (Lim, 2000) as potential dark side behavior. Data from a survey among 224 employees of a local government show that, consistent with a conceptualization of dark side behaviors as a form of retaliation against unjust treatment (Skarlicki & Folger, 1997), perceptions of distributive, procedural and interactional justice are related to various negative behaviors, including cyberloafing. In addition, the data suggest that a lack of affective commitment to an organization may constitute an important antecedent condition of cyberloafing.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 24 Nov 2005
EventEtmaal van de Communicatiewetenschap - Amsterdam, Netherlands
Duration: 24 Nov 200525 Nov 2005


ConferenceEtmaal van de Communicatiewetenschap


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