טכניון מכון טכנולוגי לישראל
הטכניון מכון טכנולוגי לישראל - בית הספר ללימודי מוסמכים  
M.Sc Thesis
M.Sc StudentFinkelstain Tamar
SubjectThe Relation between Work Interrupions and the Worker's
Self-Reported Mood (Positive and Negative),
Fatigue, Workload and Productivity
DepartmentDepartment of Industrial Engineering and Management
Supervisor Professor Emeritus Dov Zohar


Abstract

This field study examined the effects of work interruptions on self-reported affect (positive and negative), fatigue, workload and productivity. Also, it observed the moderating effects of the time of day, length of workday and task characteristics (importance, required concentration, complexity and time pressure) on the relation between interruptions and outcome variables.

The interest in work interruptions is a natural continuation of two recent trends in organizational research: A growing interest in emotions in the workplace, and the focus on work - related events as causing emotions; and a shift of perspectives in stress research, from major life events as predictors of stress to a focus on more minor, but frequent, everyday events. Despite accumulating evidence that these “daily hassles” provide a better prediction of stress, and notwithstanding evidence that workers in different occupations often encounter hassles in their day-to-day work, research of daily hassles in a work context is very limited. The present study focuses on work - related hassles and employs Experience Sampling Methodology, a repeated-measures within-subject research method that allows for systematic observation of co-variations in daily experiences and emotions.

Results point to an immediate effect of interruptions, expressed by negative affect (nervousness, anger, stress and distress), fatigue and a sense of overload, as well as a cumulative delayed effect, expressed mainly by fatigue and exhaustion and a sense of higher workload and lower productivity. Task characteristics appear as moderating variables on the immediate relationship between interruptions and subjective assessments of workload and progress; Length of day was found to be a moderating variable on the cumulative effects of interruptions on the worker’s mood and fatigue at the end of the workday.

The study results suggest that work interruptions are a strong predictor of the worker’s mood and subjective assessment of performance and support the notion that work hassles play an important role in occupational stress. Discussion includes practical implications and suggestions for future research.