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Information overload: a cross-national investigation of influence factors and effects

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Abstract:

Purpose ‐ The purpose of this paper is to examine the nature and negative effects of the "information overload" phenomenon, exacerbated in recent years by organizational design issues and rapid advances in information and communication technology, through a multidisciplinary lens. Design/methodology/approach ‐ Data from a five-country East-West published study of information overload in the Reuters organization are used to examine the influences on information overload and to compare the effects on respondents in each country. Findings ‐ Results of the re-manipulation of the survey data demonstrate significant negative relationships between information overload and the fulfilment of job responsibilities in all five countries surveyed. Information overload was perceived to be most stressful in the USA and UK. Practical implications ‐ Marketing managers face the dilemma of receiving too much information, but too little that is "right" for their planning responsibilities. The challenge is thus to convert "information" into "intelligence" that can effectively support strategic marketing planning. Suggestions are offered for reducing the duplication of information and adopting appropriate information-management strategies. Originality/value ‐ Information overload has serious practical consequences for management and planning in marketing no less than in any other discipline. A clear and comprehensive view of the phenomenon and its effects on everyday job responsibilities is therefore useful in tackling the problem. The cross-national analysis permits adjustments to local management style and behaviour in the major economies of the East and West.

Keywords: Communication technologies; Information management; Management strategy; Overload

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/02634500710834179

Publication date: October 30, 2007

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