Personal Internet Usage Behavior: Its Taxonomy and Episodic Impacts on Employee Outcomes

Yolanda N. LI, Jin YAO, Dandan LI, Kenneth S LAW

Research output: Journal PublicationsConference Abstractpeer-review


Personal Internet Usage behavior (PIU), which denotes an employee’s acts during office hours of engaging in personal activities that are not related to work tasks using the Internet or any Internet-based device, has been found to carry both cost and benefit for employees, yet we know little why. We argued that existing competing findings might be due to the existence of different types of PIU. Relying on machine learning techniques, in Study 1, we classified PIU into two types— hedonic PIU (HPIU, i.e., relaxing oneself) and utilitarian PIU (UPIU, i.e., solving others’ problems). In Study 2, we further tested the episodic influences of HPIU and UPIU on employees’ end-of-workday well-being and job engagement. A multi-level analysis of 1082 daily inputs from 127 employees across ten consecutive working days supported our hypotheses. It showed that daily HPIU contributes to employees’ end-of-workday well-being by fostering recovery. UPIU reduces their end-of-workday well-being and job engagement by inducing depletion. Moreover, we found that the beneficial effect of HPIU on recovery only happened for employees who received supervisor support for such nonwork activities during work hours. For employees with low supervisor support, performing HPIU would impede their recovery at work, thereby reducing their end-of-workday well-being. We discussed the implications of our findings.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAcademy of Management Proceedings
Issue number1
Early online date6 Jul 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2022


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