Waiting for the Boss's Blue Checkmark to Appear: Supervisor's Attentiveness, Negative Emotions, and Work Engagement During Instant Messaging at Work

Liad Bareket-Bojmel, Tamar Icekson, Nirit Toshav-Eichner, Yaron Sela

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

In organizations, employees actively manage the immediacy with which they respond to instant messages to cope with mobile connectivity overload caused by continuous interactions. This research conducted a naturalistic observational design to examine real-life mobile connectivity behaviors in organizations and measure their occupational well-being consequences. Specifically, we focused on the use of a feature (WhatsApp's blue checkmark) that enables senders to know precisely when recipients choose to read their messages. In the study, 192 participants sent important messages to their supervisors through WhatsApp. The study used Confirmatory Factor Analysis and moderation analyses to explore the relationship between supervisors' attentiveness (indicated by WhatsApp's blue checkmark), negative emotions, work engagement, and the quality of leader-member exchange (LMX). Drawing on the perspective of 'digital well-being, ' we investigated the role of relationship quality between supervisors and employees (LMX) as a moderator. We hypothesized that relationship quality would buffer against negative feelings and decreased work engagement when employees await a response after sending important messages to their supervisors. Indeed, supervisor's inattentiveness was positively correlated with negative affect and negatively correlated with employee engagement. Surprisingly, we found that employees with strong relationship quality (high LMX) with their supervisors experienced lower work engagement while waiting for an indication that their message had been read. These results suggest that timely indications of message read by supervisors play an important role in mitigating negative emotions and fostering higher work engagement among employees.

Original languageEnglish
JournalCyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking
Early online date8 Mar 2024
DOIs
StateE-pub ahead of print - 8 Mar 2024
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.

Keywords

  • digital well-being
  • instant messaging
  • leader-member exchange
  • mobile work devices
  • negative affect
  • work engagement

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Waiting for the Boss's Blue Checkmark to Appear: Supervisor's Attentiveness, Negative Emotions, and Work Engagement During Instant Messaging at Work'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this