Posted from Boston, MA 

Update:  More studies and research are available to warn us about risks of Enterprise 2.0.  Awareness of these challenges is growing and now attention must be focused on how to effectively mitigate these risks.  

The Enterprise 2.0 Conference in Boston has been the inspiration for this update.  Six months ago I lamented on the lack of visibility on these studies, but now the mainstream media has picked up on some of these issues.   The additional references reflect new information that I have collected. 

Now that the challenges are recognized and better understood, I am of the opinion that greater personal responsibility is essential for the solution. Corporations can call attention to the problems and encourage good practices, but ultimately individuals control how they want to manage their attention.

For the original reference set, go here. 


Flexible Access:   The Impact of Workday Interruptions and Distractions caused by Enterprise 2.0 Technologies 

Carr, Nicholas.  “The Web Shatters Brain, Re-wires Focus,” Wired, May 24, 2010.   A recent article describing a range of challenges with E2.0 technologies.

Csikszentmihalyi, Mihaly.  Flow:  The Psychology of Optimal Experience, Harper, 2008.   Classic work on how immersion in a task can create happiness.

Richtel, Matt.  “Hooked on Gadgets, and Paying a Mental Price,” New York Times, June 6, 2010.   Article in a series from the New York Times raising issues of on-line habits and behaviors and abilities.


Always Available: The Impact of Enterprise 2.0 Intruding on our Time Off 

 “You Have Zero Friends” South Park Episode 104, April 7, 2010.   Likely to be a classic video satirizing the culture of Facebook.

Scelfo, Julie. “The Risks of Parenting While Plugged In,” New York Times, June 9, 2010.   Another article in the series by the New York Times addressing impacts of multitasking while parenting.

Fisher, Anne, “Does Your Employer Help you stay Healthy?”  Fortune July 12, 2005. discussing issues of staying connected at work while on vacation.

Schwartz, Tony.  The Way We’re Working isn’t Working, Free Press, 2010.  This book discusses the work patterns of high performers:  intervals of intense focus followed by downtime.


Always Virtual: The Impact of the Loss of Face Time with Colleagues 

 “Empathy: College Students Don’t Have as Much as They Used To, Study Finds,” Science Daily, May 29, 2010.   Recent report on the decline of empathy in college students.

Goleman, Daniel.  Social Intelligence:  The Revolutionary New Science of Human Relationships.  Bantam Books, 2006.   Thorough discussion of neurophysiology and how it affects the quality of our relationships.

Jaconani, Marco.  Mirroring People: The Science of Empathy and How We Connect with Others, Picador, 2009.  Detailed discussion of mirror neurons and their impact on learning and behavior.


Change is Hard: Adopting good practices to mitigate these risks is not easy

Siegel, Daniel.  Mindsight:  The New Science of Personal Transformation, Bantam, 2010.  Siegel discusses why change is hard and what we can do about it.


A call for realism and personal responsibility

Ehrenreich, Barbara.  Bright-sided: How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking Has Undermined America, Metropolitan Books, 2009.  Provocative book on how being positive can have unexpected negative consequences.

Gallagher, Winifred.  Rapt:  Attention and the Focused Life,  Penguin Books 2009.  Discussion on how taking ownership of our attention can improve our well-being.


Posted from Red Bank, New Jersey

This and the following posts summarize the findings from the research presented at the Enterprise 2.0 conference in San Francisco last November.  The references for this post can be found the the ‘Flexible Access’ section the Dark Side of Enterprise 2.0 post.

In the ‘old days’  people could only reach out to you by going to your office, calling you on the telephone or sending you inter-office mail.  Today, however, there lots of ways to make contact … email, instant messaging, blogging, micro-blogging or posting on wiki’s, discussion forums, etc.  While ubiquitous access can be empowering, there are risks with the likelihood of increased of interruptions.  Enterprise 2.0 introduces tools like social networks and micro-blogging and with these tools comes features to alert you whenever there is an update, response or comment.  This is useful because you don’t have to be on the platform to know if there is something new.  But this feature can be counterproductive because it adds more interruptions to your day.  These tools often include information on your presence which is helpful because now others know you are available to respond to their questions, but this also increases the number of interruptions in your day.

So what is wrong with interruptions?

One problem is the potential loss of productivity due to the resumption lag.  This is the time it takes to get back into the groove once you have been interrupted.   Imagine doing a Sudoku puzzle and you are interrupted to answer a simple question (like, “How do you spell ‘football’?”).  Researchers have been able to measure the time it takes for you to settle back into the puzzle, and it can be as short as a second, but it can be as much as a few seconds depending on the complexity of the task. When adding up all of these interruptions and distractions, one study estimated that knowledge workers lose up to 2 hours a day from multitasking and interruptions.

Another potential risk is the lost sense of accomplishment people may feel.  With interruptions comes the challenge of successfully completing tasks that you have started.  A day can be a pinball game of interruptions where you bounce from one thing to the next.  And this lack of control and task closure can lead to increased stress.  Could this stress end up impacting employees job satisfaction?

Finally, interruptions affect our ability to do complex analyses.  Good comprehension requires concentration and focus.  Remember the reading comprehension tests from school where you had to read a short article and answer questions on it?  How well would you do on them if you were getting alerts that you were tempted check?  In her book “Distracted:  The Erosion of Attention and the Coming Dark Age”  Maggie Jackson paints a detailed picture of how we risk addressing deep, long term problems because of our interrupt-driven lives.  Also, It turns out that researchers have found that our brains perform poorly at laying down memories when stressed with juggling multiple tasks and interruptions.

So this leads to the question of how should  these issues be identified as costs or risks in the business cases for Enterprise 2.0 programs?

October 27, 2009.  Posted from Red Bank, New Jersey

Research is suggesting the Enterprise 2.0 technologies might introduce negative impacts productivity, decision quality and job satisfaction, in addition to the positive ones. What do we need to be aware of as we unleash these solutions on employees?

The Enterprise 2.0 Conference in San Francisco has been the inspiration for this blog.  While compiling information on the psychological impacts of E2.0 technologies on workers for a talk at the conference, I uncovered a massive amount of research.  But for some reason little of this work has trickled into the discussions I hear about Enterprise 2.0.  I want to change that.  I also need a venue to share references to the research that I cite in the talk.

Join me in challenging companies to address these soft challenges of Enterprise 2.0.  Challenges that can potentially dilute the benefit of E2.0 and maybe even make employees less productive and happy.  Either take a moment to consider these issues when plunging forward with deployments or add your comments to the blog so we can raise the visibility of these challenges.

The Dark Side of Enterprise 2.0


Don't get burned from too much access

Flexible Access:   The Impact of Workday Interruptions caused by Enterprise 2.0 Technologies

Lohr, Steve.  “Slow Down Brave Multitasker, and Don’t Read this in Traffic,” The New York Times, Feb 25, 2007. Readable summary of recent studies on multitasking.

Freedman, D.H. What’s Next? Taskus Interruptus, Mansueto Ventures LLC, Inc.Com, 2007 <>. This study is identified as calculating over 2 hours lost per day per employee from interruptions. A great website for research on interruptions.

Altmann E. M. & Trafton J. G.  “Timecourse of recovery from task interruption: Data and a model,” Psychonomic Bullletin & Review, 14 (6), 1079-1084, 2007, <>.  An excellent example of how researchers study resumption time.

Appelbaum S. H., Marchionni A. & Fernandez A. (2008) “The multi-tasking paradox: Perceptions, problems and strategies, ” Management Decision, 46 (9), 1313-1325, 2008 <>. A thorough overview of topics related to interruptions.

Foerde, K., Knowlton, B. J. and Poldrack, R. A.  “Modulation of Competing Memory Systems by Distraction, “ Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 103:11778-83, 2006 <>.   Research suggesting we are less effective at remembering things when distracted.

Kirmeyer, S. L. (1988). “Coping with competing demands: Interruptions and the Type A pattern,” Journal of Applied Psychology, 73, 621–629 1988 <>.  A study demonstrating interruptions increases stress.

Carton, A. M.  and Aiello, J. R. “Control and Anticipation of Social Interruptions:  Reduced Stress and Improved Task Performance,” Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 2009, 39, 1, pp. 169–185 <>.  Another study demonstrating interruptions increases stress.

Amabile, T., Hadley, C.N., and Kramer, S.J., (2002), “Creativity Under the Gun.” Special Issue on The Innovative Enterprise: Turning Ideas into Profits. Harvard Business Review 80, no. 8 (August 2002): 52-61. <>.  Field research that actually links interruptions and workplace pressure to reduced creativity.


Always Virtual: The Impact of the Loss of Face Time with Colleagues

Nie, Norman H.  Hillygus, D. Sunshine.   “The Impact of Internet use on Sociability:  Time-Diary Findings,” IT & Society, V1, I1, Summer 2002 <>.   Provides data to show that online time cuts into face time.

Brodie, Ian. “Debunking the Myths of Non-Verbal Communication.” Debunking the Myths of Non-Verbal Communication. 8 Feb.  25 Oct. 2009 < the- Myths- of- Non- Verbal- Communication&id=974778>.  Short explanation of limitations of Mehrabian’s infamous figure of 93% of communication is non-verbal.

Mehrabian, A. “Attitudes inferred from neutral verbal communications,” Journal of Consulting Psychology, 31, 414-417, 1967.<>.  One of Mehrabian’s early articles discussing non-verbal communication and the infamous 93% figure.

Burgoon, J. K., Buller, D. B., and Woodall, W. G. Nonverbal Communication:  The Unspoken Dialogue, Greyden Press, 1994.  More recent work on estimating the amount of information is verbal vs non-verbal

Small, Gary and Vorgan, Gigi.   iBrain: Surviving the Technological Alteration of the Modern Mind, Harper Collins, 2008.   This book compiles research on digital technology into a readable discussion of how it affects children’s brains and their psychology.


Always Available: The Impact of Enterprise 2.0 Intruding on our Time Off

Brown, Stuart and Vaughan, C.  Play:  How it Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul, Penguin Books,  2009.  An appropriately fun book that discusses the merits of play on our lives.

Wixted,J.  “A Theory of Why we Forget what we once Knew,” Current Directions in Psychological Science, v14 n4, 2005.  <>.   A discussion of how distractions or overload impedes our ability to store memories.

Spector, P. E. “Perceived control by employees: A meta-analysis ofstudies concerning autonomy and participation,” Human Relations, 39,1986.   <>.  One early study measuring the link between task control and stress.

New Interactive Venues: The Impact of Enterprise 2.0 on Redefining Expertise

Jackson, Maggie.  Distracted:  The Erosion of Attention and the Coming Dark Age, Prometheus Books, 2008.  Like the title of the book suggests, a pessimistic view of the impact of technology on our humanity.

Rea, L. M. Parker, R. A. Designing and Conducting Survey Research:  A Comprehensive Guide,  Jossey-Bass, 2005. One of many books out there that explain the complexity of creating a predictive survey.

Tversky, A. & Kahneman, D.  “Judgments under uncertainty: Heuristics and biases.” Science, 185, 1974 <>  Early discussion of availability bias.

Always Retrievable (and Viewable by All):  The Impact on Candor and Personal Reinvention  Article discussing policy challenges at the New York Observer over candor and trust vs twittering.


Information Candy Store:  The Impact of Information Overload on Employess  Great website for research on information overload.

Wilson, P.  “Unused relevant information in research and development,”  Journal of the American Society for Information Science, v46 N1, 1995.

Farhoomand, A. F. &  Drury, D. H. “Managerial Information Overload,”  Communications of the ACM, October 2002, < > An interesting tool that estimate the of cost of information overload for one’s enterprise.

Scwartz, B.  The Paradox of Choice:  Why more is Less.  Harper, 2004

Zeldes. N, Sward, D, & Louchheim.  “Infomania:  Why we can’t afford to ignore it any longer,”  First Monday V12 N8  2007  <>

Jeanine W. T. &  Reinsch, N. L.   “The Business Communicator as Presence Allocator: Multicommunicating, Equivocality, and Status at Work,” Journal of Business Communication V44 N1, 2007 <>