Title of Abstract

Why Some People Multitask Better Than Others: Predicting Learning and IS Usage

Abstract

Multitasking using information systems (IS) comprised of hardware, software, and networks is growing such that there is a blurring between personal and work lives. Consequently, it is important to study the antecedents and effects of IS multitasking (Spink et al., 2008). There exists an overwhelming body of literature that points to overall negative effects of traditional multitasking. Surprisingly, research on IS multitasking is relatively scarce (Benbunan-Fich et al., 2009; Spink and Waller, 2008). To address this gap in research, we hypothesize and test a research model that identifies antecedents and outcomes of IS multitasking. Subjects were drawn from ‘millenials’ that have grown up using multiple IS devices and are ready to enter the workforce. Contrary to prior research, we find that IS multitasking leads to significant positive effects on ‘cognitive absorption’, ‘change in mental models’ (or learning), and ‘IS usage’. In turn, IS multitasking was significantly predicted by ‘personal innovativeness with technology’ and ‘computer polychronicity’ It is possible that multitasking in today’s world with information devices is a unique phenomenon that differs from traditional multitasking. Our study has implications for attitudes toward IS multitasking as well as designing training activities and multitasking systems.

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Why Some People Multitask Better Than Others: Predicting Learning and IS Usage

Multitasking using information systems (IS) comprised of hardware, software, and networks is growing such that there is a blurring between personal and work lives. Consequently, it is important to study the antecedents and effects of IS multitasking (Spink et al., 2008). There exists an overwhelming body of literature that points to overall negative effects of traditional multitasking. Surprisingly, research on IS multitasking is relatively scarce (Benbunan-Fich et al., 2009; Spink and Waller, 2008). To address this gap in research, we hypothesize and test a research model that identifies antecedents and outcomes of IS multitasking. Subjects were drawn from ‘millenials’ that have grown up using multiple IS devices and are ready to enter the workforce. Contrary to prior research, we find that IS multitasking leads to significant positive effects on ‘cognitive absorption’, ‘change in mental models’ (or learning), and ‘IS usage’. In turn, IS multitasking was significantly predicted by ‘personal innovativeness with technology’ and ‘computer polychronicity’ It is possible that multitasking in today’s world with information devices is a unique phenomenon that differs from traditional multitasking. Our study has implications for attitudes toward IS multitasking as well as designing training activities and multitasking systems.