Researchers show why not to pull out your mobile phone during workplace meetings

The Kansas-based research team comprehensively looked at the expectations of mobile media use, manager policy, and task acknowledgment during workplace meetings.

2 min read

In the workplace, it is best to keep your mobile phone stashed in your pocket or purse to improve the effectiveness of a meeting and minimize incompetence, according to researchers at the University of Kansas.

In their recent study, published in the peer-reviewed journal Mobile Media & Communication, the Kansas-based research team comprehensively looked at the expectations of mobile media use, manager policy, and task acknowledgment during workplace meetings.

The findings read: “In organizational meetings, mobile media are commonly used to hold multiple simultaneous conversations (i.e., multicommunication).”

“This experiment uses video vignettes to test how manager policy (no policy, pro-technology, anti-technology), device use (notepad, laptop, cell phone) and task-acknowledgment (no task-acknowledgment, task-acknowledgment) affect perceptions of meeting multicommunication behavior,” the co-authors stated in the findings.

For the study, video vignettes were initiated among people using an electronic device during their workplace meeting. A group of 243 spectators was then asked to rate the distracted meeting employee’s competence and effectiveness at the meeting.

“Results reveal manager policy and device use both affect multicommunication perceptions, with mobile phones generating the highest expectancy violation and lowest evaluation of the communicator and meeting effectiveness,” the findings demonstrated. “Surprisingly, there was no effect for task-acknowledgment; however, a match between manager policy and task-acknowledgment affected evaluations.”

“The effect for the phone is ginormous,” said Cameron Piercy, a co-author of the study. “So even if you were to use a laptop in the meeting, you’d be better off than using your phone because there was this big spike in all the numbers that are associated with using the phone, relative to the other two.”

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