The Intensified Blurring of Boundaries between Work and Private Life through IT Consumerization
Köffer S, Anlauf L, Ortbach K, Niehaves B
Consumer technologies have intensified the blurring between work and private spaces. For instance, employees increasingly use privately owned devices for work or company provided devices for private tasks. By means of a multiple case study in four organisations, we investigate the current use of consumer IT in organisations in relation to the increased blurring between work and private life. With regard to boundary theory, we are able to identify six technology-related aspects that describe the intensifying role of IT consumerisation in terms of blurring boundaries. Whether people strive for work-life integration or segmentation, they often experience conflicts in realising their individual preference. However, it seems that IT consumerisation further moved the standard for work-life blurring towards integration rather than segmentation. The number of identified conflicts suggests that there is still a lot of potential for software vendors and user companies to make the management of work and private life spaces more feasible. More specifically, there is a need for solutions that better target individual preferences towards work-life blurring. Our study sheds further light on both increasing chances and challenges that consumer technology puts on employees and organisations.