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The influence of personality traits and ICT use on the boundary management of home-based teleworkers

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posted on 29.05.2018, 13:26 authored by Hannah Evans
This mixed methods study contains two studies that are linked together sequentially to explore the work/nonwork boundary management of home-based teleworkers through the overarching research question: Do personality traits and ICT use influence how teleworkers manage their work-nonwork boundary? Mobile ICT s such as smartphones are becoming increasingly more important for work and they can have a boundary blurring effect on the work-nonwork boundary as they may be used at anytime and anywhere. However, the issue of how personality traits influence ICT use and work-nonwork boundary management has been neglected, particularly in a teleworking context. As people manage their work-nonwork boundaries differently and some people work better at home than others, it is not known to what extent personality traits play a role in boundary management and ICT use. Study One explores the relationships between the big five personality traits of conscientiousness, extraversion and neuroticism, the facet level traits of dutifulness, gregariousness, and impulsiveness and work/nonwork boundary interruptions. It also explores the relationships between these traits and frequency of technology use for work purposes and the relationship of ICT s (smartphones, tablets and laptops) to work/nonwork boundary interruptions. Data was collected via an online survey, with recruitment from social media sites and Local Authorities totalling 391 usable responses. Conscientiousness was found to be negatively related to work-nonwork and nonwork-work interruptions, dutifulness negatively related to nonwork-work interruptions, neuroticism positively related to work-nonwork interruptions and impulsiveness positively related to nonwork-work interruptions. Personality traits were found to have small correlations to boundary interruptions which was a new finding, although it was expected that the correlations might have been larger than they were found to be. Extraversion was positively related to frequency of laptop use and extraversion and gregariousness were positively related to frequency of smartphone use, neuroticism was negatively related to frequency of smartphone use which were new findings in a work context. Frequency of ICT use was positively related to work-nonwork interruptions, with smartphones showing the highest correlation, followed by tablet and then laptop displaying a stepped effect. This finding of a stepped effect was new and suggests that the portability of smartphones makes them much easier to connect to work out of hours, than laptops and tablets. The second study included interviews from 20 participants who had completed the survey, four from each of five boundary management groups (Strong Segmentors, Strong Integrators, Moderate Managers, Work Boundary Protectors and Family Boundary Protectors). The groups were derived from scores from the survey data, in order to investigate in more depth, other factors that influenced boundary management interruptions that were not picked up in Study One and specifically the idiosyncrasies of ICT use between groups. The qualitative data was analysed via Template Analysis and the final themes in the template were Boundary Management, Crafting Work, Individual Differences, Telework and Interruptions. The theme of Boundary Management was dealt with in this study. Some key findings were that Study Two built upon Study One by finding that proactivity was a key theme and that this trait may be particularly active while individuals are teleworking due to the context. ICT s were used in a way that reflected the wide ranging boundary management preferences of the individuals using them.


Loughborough University.



  • Business and Economics


  • Business


© Hannah Evans

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This work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at:

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A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.