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How can we prevent burnout of digital workers that are overloaded in technology?

Technology has enabled or made platform-mediated work easier, and individuals are frequently being stimulated via various digital solutions to be absorbed in technology. Understanding the nuances of the human-computer symbiosis is even more prominent in the context of digital work, for individuals performing digitally-mediated labor. However, for platform workers, technology might result in overload and burnout, leading to adverse effects on their well-being and outputs. This study investigates how we can be more humane when designing digitized work by exploring the antecedents of gig workers’ creativity. Based on the social cognitive perspective, we explore the interplay between individuals’ cognitive absorption in technology and technology overload in predicting gig workers’ creative output. Data from 263 Amazon Mechanical Turk platform workers showed that cognitive absorption positively predicts gig workers’ creativity. However, the moderated-mediation analysis showed that when technology overload is high, cognitive absorption with technology leads to burnout and reduced levels of creativity. This study contributes to the extant literature by bridging the information systems literature on perceptions of IT adoption and usage with the areas of micro-creativity/innovation management within the organizational behavior/psychology domains. We do so by specifically focusing on the cognitive dimension of IT adoption and use, labeled as cognitive absorption and pointing out the negative aspects of overwhelming digitalization when being juxtaposed with digital workers’ innovation imperative, in essence examining the ‘dark side’ of innovation demands interplaying with IT. This topic represents a central issue in managing individuals that perform digitally-mediated work in terms of obtaining their creativity in a humane way.

ČERNE, Matej, BUNJAK, Aldijana, POPOVIČ, Aleš. (2019) Humanizing creativity in digital work : the interplay among cognitive absorption in technology and technology overload in predicting gig workers’ burnout and creativity : presented at the 11th biennial international conference of the Dutch HRM Network, Tilburg, Netherlands, 14th November 2019.