Technology addiction in the workplace
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Technology Addiction in the Workplace. Who is Responsible? Taylor Danner & Sally Lewis. Addiction:.

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Technology Addiction in the Workplace

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Technology addiction in the workplace

Technology Addiction in the Workplace

Who is Responsible?

Taylor Danner & Sally Lewis



  • the state of being enslaved to a habit or practice or to something that is psychologically or physically habit-forming, such as narcotics, to such an extent that its cessation causes severe trauma

  • A behavior becomes an addiction when it interferes with normal body functions such as sleeping and eating, with work, productivity, and with social and family relationships.

The problem

The Problem

  • employees experience constant connectivity to workplace

  • Technology addictions develop

  • Should employers be held liable?

The debate

The Debate

  • Is it ethical for employers to either encourage or to require their employees to stay connected?

  • Currently, is there an appropriate or fair implementation of wireless technologies at the workplace and at home?

  • Should addiction to such devices be attributed to employers who insist on their use- both inside and outside the office?

Who do you think should be blamed

Who do You think should be blamed?

  • Employer

  • Employee

  • Manufacturers of the devices

Gayle porter associate professor at rutgers university

Gayle Porter (Associate Professor at Rutgers University)

  • "There are costs attached to excessive work due to technology. Information and communication technology (ICT) addiction has been treated by policy makers as a kind of elephant in the room -- everyone sees it, but no one wants to acknowledge it directly. Owing to vested interests of the employers and the ICT industry, signs of possible addiction -- excess use of ICT and related stress illnesses -- are often ignored."

How can you tell the difference

How can you tell the difference?

  • Employee’s Choice vs. Employer’s Manipulation

  • Porter: “When professional advancement (or even survival) seems to depend on 24/7 connectivity, it becomes increasingly difficult to distinguish between choice and manipulation”

The employers are to blame

The Employers ARE to Blame

  • The technology addiction problem is due to the employers and their high demand for employees to stay connected so frequently. This demand forces employees to be constantly connected, inside and outside of the workplace, and therefore the employee has no choice.

Why stay connected

Why stay connected?

  • Manipulation

  • Fear

  • Pressure

  • Often employees are given things by the company, like cell phones and laptops, in order to stay connected.



  • What if the employer is manipulating the employee to be connected for the employers benefit?

  • Porter: “If an employer manipulates an individual's propensity toward workaholism or technology addiction for the employer's benefit, the legal perspective shifts.”

Fear and pressure

Fear and Pressure

  • Fear of missing out

  • Afraid of being fired or missing a promotion

  • Pressure to produce more

  • Pressure to get ahead

  • Porter: “But for an employee looking to get ahead, get a raise or keep a job, staying connected with work during evenings and on weekends is more of a necessity than a choice”

Vacation a time to relax

Vacation: a time to relax?

  • America Online and Opinion Research Corporation

    • Polled 4,000 adults

    • 60% of e-mail users check e-mail while on vacation

  • The Sheraton Chicago Hotel

What s next

What’s next?

  • Suing the employers

  • Porter: “If companies develop a culture

    in which people are expected to be available 24 hours a day, then they

    should be prepared for the physical

    and psychological consequences”

  • Similar case: Barney

Technology addiction in the workplace

  • Many employers have programs that help their workers who have other types of addictions. Technology addiction could have as much damage to the mental health as other things do. Do you think that employers should be responsible for providing their employees with help if they are addicted?

The employer should not be liable

The employer should not be liable

  • unless employers require their employees to be accessible after business hours, they are not liable because technology proficiency is important for most competitive companies, and the risk of becoming dependent on technology should be considered an equal risk to other work related hazards

History of addictive behaviors

History of Addictive Behaviors

  • Addiction occurred years before the age of technology

  • Long list of compulsive behavior & treatment centers

  • When a person cannot exercise personal control disorder



  • addicted to work

  • lead to or be mistaken for technology addiction

  • Not contributed to unreasonable demands of the employer

  • Based on an individual desire and compulsive behavior.

Technology addiction in the workplace

  • Ivan Goldberg, M.D.- “There's no such thing as Internet addiction. The Internet is about as addictive as work: Sure, there are workaholics, but they're simply working to avoid the other problems in their lives”

  • Gayle Porter- “If people work longer hours for personal enrichment, they assume the risk.”

Psychiatrist david averbach

Psychiatrist David Averbach

  • “Personal restraint is really the key, and can employers be liable for (lack of) personal restraint?”

  • these technological devices only work when they are turned on, and that an employee is capable of turning them off outside of business hours

Technology addicted employees are not beneficial to employers

Technology addicted employees are Not beneficial to employers

  • Misuse of technology within business hours lower productivity

  • opposite affect of efficiency

  • Companies establish guidelines for use

Finding the source

Finding the source

  • communication through technology is not restricted to the workplace

  • Pinpointing employers new possibility of law suits

    Judy Olsen (professor of business information technology & psychology): “Are employers responsible for people getting lung cancer because they allow smoking on the premises”

Students employees choices

Students, Employees, & Choices

  • Employees and students high technology addiction

  • Can students blame University for technology addiction?

  • Students entering job market expect constant connectivity

  • Discuss addictive behavior with employer before accepting position

Technology addiction in the workplace

  • Health Education Coordinator Dennis Martell (Michigan State University):

    “Placing any blame on employers for providing the tools to stay connected would be like saying you would have held (Ma Bell) liable for inventing the phone”



  • 5-10% American population addicted to technology

  • Over 50% of technology addicts also suffer from other addictions (established addictive personality)

  • emotional problems often factors in lives of technology addicts

Rick ueno

Rick Ueno

  • Manager of Sheraton Chicago Hotel; “King of Crackberry”

  • Former technology addict

  • Solved problem by giving up BlackBerry overnight

  • Started program for clients suffering from technology addiction

    *many employers realize high potential of technology addiction

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