To What Do I Owe This Visit? The Drawbacks and Benefits of In-Role and Non-Role Intrusions


Workplace intrusions—unexpected encounters initiated by another person that disrupt an individual’s work—are generally characterized as negative experiences that deplete resources, increase role and information overload, and promote strain. In contrast, our research argues that intrusions may also provide benefits to the employees who are intruded upon. Taking a multistudy approach, we investigate how intrusions impact the extent to which employees engage in their own work—work engagement—and the extent to which they engage in work with others—collaboration. We also investigate the indirect effects of intrusions on employees’ task-focused and person-focused citizenship behavior through these mechanisms. We tested our predictions with a within-person experimental critical incident study (Study 1), an experiment (Study 2), and an experience-sampling methodology study with a sample of scientists involved in research and development (Study 3). Our research investigates the dynamics of various types of workplace intrusions, with results suggesting that intrusions may lead to beneficial employee outcomes in addition to the adverse outcomes previously demonstrated in the literature. Given the ubiquitous nature of intrusions in organizations, our findings have both theoretical and practical significance.

Journal of Management, Volume 48, Issue 7 2022

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About the researcher

DR Niharika Garud is a Senior Lecturer in Management at Department of Management and Marketing, Faculty of Business & Economics at University of Melbourne. She works in interdisciplinary management research projects with industry partners. Niharika’s interests for research, teaching, executive education, engagement and industry collaborations lie in areas of technology and innovation management, organizational psychology, judgment and decision-making, creativity, entrepreneurship, behavioral strategy and operations, R&D management (management of scientists, product development teams and processes, innovation labs) and engineering management. She has won numerous awards, grants and fellowships for research, teaching, engagement in USA, Asia, Australia.

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