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Networking or not working: A model of social procrastination from communication

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  • Makarov, Uliana
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    Abstract

    This paper provides an explanation for why many organizations are concerned with “e-mail overload” and implement policies to restrict the use of e-mail in the office. In a theoretical model we formalize the tradeoff between increased productivity from high priority communication and reduced productivity due to distractions caused by low priority e-mails. We consider employees with present-biased preferences as well as time consistent employees. All present-biased employees ex-ante are motivated to read only important e-mail, but in the interim some agents find the temptation to read all e-mail in their inbox too high, and as a result suffer from productivity losses. A unique aspect of this paper is the social nature of procrastination, which is a key to the e-mail overload phenomenon. In considering the firm’s policies to reduce the impact of e-mail overload we conclude that a firm is more likely to restrict e-mail in the case of employees with hyperbolic preferences than in the case of time-consistent employees.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization.

    Volume (Year): 80 (2011)
    Issue (Month): 3 ()
    Pages: 574-585

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:80:y:2011:i:3:p:574-585

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    Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/jebo

    Related research

    Keywords: E-mail overload; Communication; Present-biased preferences; Social spillovers;

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    References

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    1. O'Donoghue, Ted & Rabin, Matthew, 2002. "Addiction and Present-Biased Preferences," Working Papers 02-10, Cornell University, Center for Analytic Economics.
    2. Timothy Van Zandt, 2004. "Information Overload in a Network of Targeted Communication," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 35(3), pages 542-560, Autumn.
    3. Itoh, Hideshi, 1992. "Cooperation in Hierarchical Organizations: An Incentive Perspective," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 8(2), pages 321-45, April.
    4. Mylovanov, Tymofiy & Schmitz, Patrick W., 2007. "Task Scheduling and Moral Hazard," CEPR Discussion Papers 6467, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    5. Hemmer, Thomas, 1995. "On the interrelation between production technology, job design, and incentives," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(2-3), pages 209-245, April.
    6. Brocas, Isabelle & Carrillo, Juan D, 2001. " Rush and Procrastination under Hyperbolic Discounting and Interdependent Activities," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 22(2), pages 141-64, March.
    7. Laibson, David, 1997. "Golden Eggs and Hyperbolic Discounting," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(2), pages 443-77, May.
    8. Loewenstein, George & Prelec, Drazen, 1992. "Anomalies in Intertemporal Choice: Evidence and an Interpretation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 107(2), pages 573-97, May.
    9. Itoh, Hideshi, 1994. "Job design, delegation and cooperation: A principal-agent analysis," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 38(3-4), pages 691-700, April.
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