Navigating Technostress and Entitled Employees

September 1, 2023

Kenneth J. Harris, PhD, Ranida B. Harris, PhD, Matthew Valle, PhD, John Carlson, PhD, Dawn S. Carlson, PhD, Suzanne Zivnuska, PhD, and Briceön Wiley, PhD

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The impact of technology on the workplace has been a growing concern in recent years, particularly with the increasing use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) in organizations. While technology has undoubtedly brought many benefits to the workplace, it has also brought a new form of stress known as "technostress.” Technology plays a crucial role in the day-to-day operations of real estate professionals, who are constantly using ICTs to manage work and communicate with clients. Agents are at a high risk of experiencing technostress, which can negatively impact work and family life. By understanding how technostress negatively influences employee turnover, work-family conflict, and family burnout, agents and firms can better manage potential stressors and create a more positive and productive work environment.

In this research, we explored the impacts of two different types of technostress—techno-overload and techno-invasion—on the work domain, family domain, and the relationship between the two. Furthermore, we shed light on the moderating effect of employee entitlement on these relationships.

Techno-Overload and Techno-Invasion

Techno-overload refers to the stress caused by an excessive use of technology, such as constantly checking emails, social media, and notifications. Techno-invasion refers to the intrusion of technology into an individual's personal and private life, disrupting the work-life balance. Our findings indicate that both techno-overload and techno-invasion are positively related to employee turnover intentions, work-family conflict, and family burnout. This suggests that the stress associated with technology use in organizations can spill over into non-work domains, impacting both the employee's professional and personal life.

Real estate professionals often experience high levels of stress, burnout, and conflict, which can, in turn, impact job satisfaction, productivity, and ultimately, turnover. As a result, it is important for real estate agents and managers to be mindful of the potential negative effects of technology use and take steps to mitigate them before they become a problem.

Organizations that ignore the impact of technology on employees risk creating a toxic work environment, which can lead to costly consequences, such as decreased job satisfaction, increased turnover, and decreased productivity. Addressing technostress and techno-invasion can help improve the well-being of employees, promote a positive work-life balance, and create a more productive and engaged workforce.

The Entitled Employee

A general increase in entitlement has been noted in the popular business press and substantiated by published research findings. This is increasingly the case among younger cohorts. Entitled employees can be found within many organizations, and, sadly, can have negative impacts on their organizations. Psychological entitlement is a personality trait—and a generally unwarranted belief—in which individuals have a tendency toward favorable self-perceptions and have reward or benefit expectations, even when there is little or no justification for the beliefs. When entitled employees do not receive what they feel is deserved or fair, they may act out in anger or seek remedy to being “wronged.”

Within the technology realm, those with entitlement may resist learning new technologies or systems and may become frustrated when experiencing technical difficulties. These frustrations can lead to decreased productivity and job satisfaction, higher turnover rates, and decreased work-life balance among employees, which can negatively affect the overall success of the organization.

We found that employee entitlement significantly moderated the relationship between the technostress dimensions and employee turnover intentions, work-family conflict, and family burnout. Employees with high levels of entitlement are more likely to experience higher levels of turnover intentions, work-family conflict, and family burnout as a result of techno-overload and techno-invasion. Our study also provides evidence that as entitlement—a growing trend among younger generations—is becoming more prevalent in the workforce, organizations must be aware of the potential impact on employees.

Mitigating Technostress Within the Firm

Organizations can mitigate the impact on employees by offering support and training on how to manage technology-related stress, such as workshops, online resources, one-on-one counseling sessions, or even just daily or weekly email reminders. In addition, organizations should set clear boundaries around technology usage, such as clearly defining boundaries on work hours that may fall outside the norm.  

Employees can also take steps to reduce their own techno-overload and techno-invasion. This may include setting limits on technology usage, such as turning off notifications outside of work hours, practicing self-care activities, such as exercise, mindfulness, and disconnecting from technology.

Real Estate Implications

In real estate, the increasing reliance on technology can lead to techno-overload and techno-invasion, resulting in stress, burnout, and decreased work performance, job satisfaction, and overall well-being. It can also spill over into agents’ personal lives, leading to work-family conflict.

Firms must also consider the impact of technology on clients. Excessive use of technology within real estate transactions can lead to information overload, confusion, and mistrust. Hence, it is important to strike a balance between utilizing technology and maintaining the human touch in agent-client interactions. This human touch can help build strong and long-lasting relationships, leading to increased customer satisfaction and loyalty.

It is vital for both agents and firms to recognize the potential impact of technology on work and personal life and to take steps to offset its effects. By doing so, a more positive and productive work environment can be created and a healthier work-life balance can be maintained.

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Recommended Reading

Harris, Kenneth J., Ranida B. Harris, Matthew Valle, John R. Carlson, Dawn S. Carlson, Suzanne Zivnuska, and Briceön Wiley (2022), “Technostress and the Entitled Employee: Impacts on Work and Family,” Information Technology & People, 35, 1073-1095.

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About the Authors

Kenneth J. Harris, PhD
Associate Professor of Management, Indiana University Southeast
Dr. Kenneth Harris (PhD – Florida State University) has developed a national and international reputation for his groundbreaking research in the areas of leadership and abusive supervisory behaviors, and he is shaping the course and development of research in these areas. His work focuses on the effect that abusive supervisory relationships have on job performance, coworkers and the workplace as a whole. His research is published in major journals of his field such as Leadership Quarterly and Journal of Social Psychology, and his work has been cited not only in scholarly publications but also in popular media, such as Forbes.

Ranida B. Harris, PhD
Professor of Management Information Systems, Indiana University Southeast
Dr. Ranida B. Harris’ (PhD – Florida State University) research interests include the effects of computer technologies on communication, performance, and decision making. Her publications appear in journals such as Journal of Organizational and End User Computing, Journal of Information Systems Education, and Information Systems Education Journal. Dr. Harris’ teaching interests include business computer applications, business data analytics, Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Systems, systems analysis and design, and database management systems.

Matthew Valle, PhD
Professor of Management, Elon University
Dr. Matthew Valle (PhD – Florida State University) is a renowned expert in management with background as a former Air Force pilot. He has received multiple awards for excellence in teaching, scholarship, and service. Dr. Valle has published over 100 articles and is an active consultant for companies such as Boeing and Conagra. He is certified in Project Management and Professional Scrum Master and holds an FAA commercial pilot license. Dr. Valle is also interested in developing new models of business education delivery.

John R. Carlson, PhD
Director, PhD in Information Systems & Business Analytics and Associate Professor, Baylor University 
Dr. John Carlson (PhD – Florida State University) teaches desktop and mobile app development and has a longstanding interest in the impacts of software design on users and organizations. His research interests include the effects of computer-mediation on communication, decision-making, and workplace deception, as well as the effects of social networking in the organization. John’s recent work has appeared in Management Information Systems Quarterly, the Academy of Management Journal, and Computers in Human Behavior.

Dawn S. Carlson, PhD
Director, McBride Center for International Business and H. R. Gibson Chair of Organizational Development, Management, Baylor University
Dr. Dawn Carlson’s (PhD – Florida State University) research focuses on the intersection of work and family life, including work-family conflict, enrichment, and balance. Her research has appeared in leading academic journals including the Journal of Organizational Behavior, the Journal of Applied Psychology, the Journal of Management, Computers in Human Behavior, and Human Relations, among others. Dr. Carlson has co-authored the book “Beyond Juggling: Rebalancing Your Busy Life.” Additionally, she has received several significant accolades and awards including Florida State University’s Distinguished Doctoral Alumna for 2018, the Graduate Business Association’s Outstanding Academician award, multiple Outstanding Professor awards, and multiple Best Publication awards.

Suzanne Zivnuska, PhD
Associate Dean, College of Business, California State University, Chico
Dr. Suzanne Zivnuska (PhD – Florida State University) combines more than a decade of academic and consulting experience in management with real world experience in the health care industry. Suzanne has published more than 20 articles in top journals in her field in outlets such as Human Relations, Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, and Career Development International. She maintains an active consulting practice in human resource management and is committed to providing her students with practical, active learning experiences in the classroom.

Briceön Wiley, PhD
Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Rice University and MD Anderson Cancer Center
Dr. Briceön Wiley (PhD – Baylor University), has a diverse academic background in both mathematics and finance. His PhD in Statistical Science from Baylor University and BBA from the Baylor Business Fellows program equipped him with the skills necessary to excel in research on parameter estimation in the presence of data misclassification. He has taught a variety of courses in mathematics and business analytics at University of Houston, Baylor University, and McLennan Community College. He has a strong commitment to sharing knowledge and enthusiasm for the subject and is dedicated to making a meaningful impact in the fields of biostatistics and cancer research.