I Am on the Net for Performance! A Self-regulation Perspective of Personal Internet Usage Behavior

Yolanda N. LI, Bingjie YU

Research output: Journal PublicationsConference Abstractpeer-review


A significant number of employees have reported using the internet and IT devices to deal with personal matters during work time, a phenomenon denoted as Personal Internet Usage (PIU) behavior. However, in contrast to its practical prevalence, understanding of PIU is scant in the management literature, with an exclusive view of PIU as one type of destructive behavior that impedes employees’ job performance. We deviate from this negative view of PIU and rely on the self-regulation perspective to develop a model depicting their possibly positive impacts on employees’ performance outcomes (task and creative performance). We propose that employees’ PIU may improve task performance and creative performance by fostering their cognitive flexibility at work, and the effects will be strengthened by supervisor support for employees’ personal behaviors and employees’ work and nonwork self-efficacy. Findings from a 10-workday experience sampling study, using multiple data sources (self and supervisor), generally supported our hypotheses. After controlling for employees’ PIU related to others, we found that employees’ PIU was positively related to cognitive flexibility, thus improving task performance, and supervisor support for personal behaviors strengthened the positive indirect effect. Our findings provide a positive view of PIU and broaden the understanding of the effects of PIU.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAcademy of Management Proceedings
Issue number1
Early online date24 Jul 2023
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2023
EventThe 83rd Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management - Boston, United States
Duration: 4 Aug 20238 Aug 2023


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