Revisiting the 'virtues' of information technology-dominated work by considering its potential to produce 'repetitive brain injury' (RBI)

Revisiting the 'virtues' of information technology-dominated work by considering its potential to produce 'repetitive brain injury' (RBI)
Document type
Conference Paper
Author(s)
Baruch, Yehuda; Shapiro, Debra
Publisher
British Academy of Management
Date of publication
9 September 2014
Series
British Academy of Management Conference Proceedings 2014
Subject(s)
Management & leadership: including strategy, public sector management, operations and production
Collection
Business and management
Material type
Reports

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[Authors' original abstract]

Using the well-known Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) as a metaphorical parallel, in this paper we introduce the concept of Repetitive Brain Injury (RBI) to sensitize managers as well as management scholars to potentially negative effects associated with the repetitive and controlling aspects of information technology (IT) dominated tasks that involve behavioral scripts for employees. Such behavioral scripts typically occur in service-intensive roles involving frequent telephone- and/or email-responses to customer-inquiries or complaints. In addition to explaining what the qualities that comprise RBI are, we identify its likely antecedents and consequences. We emphasize that RBI threatens to harm, both, organizations and their employees. As a result, we also identify strategies that seem likely to mitigate RBI’s onset, and thereby moderators of the relationship that more (versus less) behaviorally-scripted IT-dominated tasks has with RBI. Such strategies, in turn, help us identify an agenda in need of future research.

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