The use of information communication technologies (ICTs) increases steadily and allows workers to stay constantly connected to their employers, colleagues, and customers. Especially executives make intensive use of ICTs for work-related purposes after-hours due to the many demands that come along with the managerial role. Given the intensive use of ICTs after-hours by many executives, the question arises whether this behavior is beneficial or detrimental to their respective job performance. Available studies give no clear answer, as they are characterized by two shortcomings. Firstly, studies on the effects of work-related ICT use after-hours have generally produced mixed results. Secondly, previous research on ICT use has focused primarily on employees without managerial roles. Taking into consideration the shortcomings of previous research, I build on the job-demands-resources model and the conservation of resources theory and develop and test an individual-level model explaining the association between an executive’s after-hours work-related smartphone use and his or her job performance. Specifically, I argue that work-related smartphone use after-hours increases individual flexibility which in turn fosters job performance. Moreover, I hypothesize that whether managers can exploit the potential of ICTs depends on certain boundary conditions. Hypotheses were tested using large-scale survey data from 4,257 executives from 94 German firms from multiple industries. My results reveal a positive indirect association between executives’ after-hours work-related smartphone use and their job performance, which is mediated by their perceived work flexibility. In addition, I find this positive indirect relationship to depend on the degree of the executive’s polychronic orientation, the degree of formalization in the respective organization and his or her job pressure. Keywords: executives; technology; electronic communication; job performance
Due to digitalization, the work-related use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) has increased steadily in recent years. Working anywhere and anytime has never been easier. A growing body of research is examining the impact of this development on employees and companies - and arriving at inconclusive findings. Also, several relevant questions remain unanswered. Against this background, this dissertation examines ICT usage after regular working hours by executives in studies 1 and 2. Study 3 focuses on boundary control, a central resource in the new world of work. Study 1 shows that polychronic executives in formalized companies in particular benefit from work-related smartphone use after hours. They gain flexibility, which translates into increased work performance. Study 2 examines the impact of leaders ICT use on employee well-being. It is shown that after-hours ICT use by leaders increases collective emotional exhaustion due to the climate of universal availability. This relationship is attenuated when employees' collective boundary control is high. Study 3 shows that competence-enhancing HR systems and decentralization are central antecedents of collective boundary control. Collective boundary control is positively linked to organizational performance. Individual boundary control, in turn, has health-promoting effects for the individual employee. In particular, employees in companies with a high degree of organizational ICT use benefit from boundary control. Based on data from 24,233 employees from a total of 248 companies, the results underscore the significant role played by executives and HR management in the new world of work, not only in promoting performance but also health.