Managing the constant flow of incoming messages is a daily challenge faced by knowledge workers who use technologies such as e-mail and other digital communication tools. This study focuses on the most ubiquitous of these technologies, e-mail, and unobtrusively explores the ongoing inbox-management activities of thousands of users worldwide over a period of 8 months. (more…)
This chapter discusses the concept of information overload. Information overload is often cited by researchers, as well as by journalists and consultants, as one of the main causes of work-related pressures. My goal in this chapter is to explore what we refer to when we talk of “information overload,” and to suggest that although the workplace pressures attributed to information overload are very real, the concept itself is vague and poorly defined. I then try to isolate the actual causes of the workplace pressures that currently fall under this all-inclusive term, and to unveil two underlying fallacies that hamper our ability to identify and address these causes. These lead me to propose a new agenda for researching and for dealing with these causes of workplace pressure.