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The IM Intervention

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Timothy Barr

on 1 December 2011

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Transcript of The IM Intervention

Instant Messaging
In The Workplace Timothy R. Barr Zachary Bodnar Patrick Glover Sophia Molinas The Background! Historical Scholarship New Developments Instant Messaging for Collaboration:A Case Study of a High-Tech Firm
Quan-Haase, A., Cothrel, J., and Wellman, B. (2005). Examines how workers in a small, high-tech organization manage their IM use Introducing chat into business organizations: toward an instant messaging maturity model
MJ Muller, et. al. Describes the introduction of Lotus Sametime™, an IM product, into three business organizations.
Across the three organizations, found substantially similar patterns in savings (reduced use of other communications channels), attitudes, and social networks. The Experiment! The Inspiration! Theorizing the Unintended Consequences of Instant Messaging (IM) for Worker Productivity
Renneker, J. and Godwin, L., (2003) Individual-level productivity implications of widespread IM use in the workplace.
While instant message communication may accelerate particular tasks and decision processes, unstructured IM use will likely contribute to erosion in individuals’ overall productivity
Later studies indicate different results OPIM 290: Decision Processes
Professor Katy Milkman But the latest scholarship is optimistic! "Freedom to Surf: Workplace Internet Liesure Browsing."
Coker, Brent (2009) - awaiting publishing
Workplace Internet Leisure Browsing actually increases concentration levels and helps make a more productive workforce. We believe that the time is right to conduct a study to determine both the potential productivity gains of increased IM communication and also to use nudges to induce trial of the technology! Thank You Dizzy? Take a deep breath. Social norms marketing campaign Nudges based on Descriptive Social Norms We want to identify what type of descriptive social norm will be most effective. Each Nudge will induce a different type of social norms. Experimental Design Click Through Rate Instant Messages Sent Productivity How many employees click on the red button:






Opening the IM client is the first step towards more office communication. Given that employees open the Instant Messaging client: How many more messages are they sending?
How many other employees are they chatting with?


Is their group as a whole communicating more? The ultimate goal. Is the company better of financially becuase of this small nudge?

We will measure this through profitablility analysis and supervisor reviews. We plan to establish a correlation between IM volume/spread and firm productivity. TARGET VARIABLES Limitations & Further Research Experiment with different industries and sizes of companies to add external validity. Identify what is the gap between click through rate and productivity.
Are there other opportunities to nudge people to use IM in a more productive manner? It may not be desired to increase IM usage for all employees or all job functions, even in some team-based groups. Users might get acustomed to our nudge and the effect might wear off over time. CONTROLLING THE DATA One group will recieve no pop up screen By running our experiment for one year we will control for seasonality Gathering data from the previous year will also allow us to validate our data CONTAMINATION Randomization We will assign treatments using a random number generator. Control for bad random draws by verifying that groups are even There could be reactance but we tried to control for reactance by using a pop-up (not high pressure or coercive). 1 People work in teams and there are many different teams across the country Approximately 16,500 employees
Assume 5,000 consultants working in teams
Assume 5 people per team
= 1,000 teams

5% confidence interval
95% confidence interval
need a sample of 300 teams Proposed Intervention Can IMs be productive? Do they belong in a workplace? Collaboration is KEY to productive teamwork. Increasingly, tools are being marketed to help facilitate collaboration. Instant messaging is one of the simplest ways to bring people together more effectively. In fact, many companies have productivity suites that include instant messaging clients, allowing employees to message each other at work. ...But few employees bother to use it! This represents a waste of company resources! So we asked what we could do about it... Individuals conform to their peers’ observed:

– Retirement savings behavior (Duflo and Saez, 2003)
– Littering behavior (Cialdini, Reno and Kallgren, 1990; Kallgren, Reno and Cialdini, 2000)
– Recycling behavior (Cialdini, 2003) Social Norm Research 2 3 5 Groups 4 Year 1 Collect IM usage information to establish baseline. Year 2 Visual + written peer behavior. Visual social norm. Written social norm. Baseline for convenience. We are controlling for convenience. 5 Control Randomly select 5 groups from sample Assign each group a treatment or control If N is big enough we can find significant results! Control Convenience Baseline Will control for impact of convenience
on click-through rate Risk Group A is treatment Group B is control Is a team from group A initiates IM with
team from group B it could contaminate
our control We will keep close tabs on inter-group IM We need to ensure that contamination
doesn't occur by keeping close watch on
inter-team IMs. Temporal Baseline Questions? 26% of employed IM users said they use IM in the workplace -- 77% of these at-work IM users feel that IM has had a positive impact on their work lives.
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