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

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  • Makarov, Uliana

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Makarov, Uliana, 2011. "Networking or not working: A model of social procrastination from communication," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 80(3), pages 574-585.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:80:y:2011:i:3:p:574-585
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jebo.2011.05.016
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Itoh, Hideshi, 1992. "Cooperation in Hierarchical Organizations: An Incentive Perspective," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 8(2), pages 321-345, April.
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    5. 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 141-164, March.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

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

    JEL classification:

    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • D23 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Organizational Behavior; Transaction Costs; Property Rights
    • L20 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - General

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