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The importance of policy to effective IM use and improved performance

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Although the use of instant messaging (IM) at work has been studied in the IS field, its effective use and impact on performance have not been adequately addressed. The purpose of this paper is to explore the antecedents and consequences of the effective use of IM at work by adapting Burton-Jones and Grange’s theory of effective use.


The authors introduce “Comprehensive IM policy” as a facilitator of adaptation and learning actions to improve the effective use of IM, which will improve communication quality and productivity. The impact of IM competence on effective use is also discussed. Based on a survey of 215 managers, this study applies the partial least square technique to test the research model.


The results indicate that comprehensive IM policy encourages adaptation and learning actions, which improve the effective use of IM and thereafter improve communication quality and productivity. Meanwhile, IM competence has a substitutive interaction effect with IM reconfiguration and self-learning on effective use.


The results refine the general theory of effective use and provide managers with an approach to leverage IM use at work for performance gains.
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Keywords: Adaptation actions; Communication quality; Effective use; IM competence; IM policy; Instant messaging; Productivity; Self-learning

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: School of Management and Economics, Beijing Institute of Technology, Beijing, China 2: Xidian University, Xi’an, China 3: Department of Systems and Technology, Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama, USA 4: Western Michigan University, Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

Publication date: April 8, 2019

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