Personal Web Use in the Workplace: Why Does It Persist in a Context of Strict Security and Monitoring?

Andrea M. Polzer-Debruyne, Micheal T. Stratton, Gary Stark


Over the last decade, Personal Web Use (PWU) in the workplace has received considerable attention. This study examined factors that both inhibit and encourage PWU behaviors. The context was a municipal government agency in the U.S. with strong policy and electronic restrictions on PWU. Our study builds on extant research by investigating both self-reported PWU (from an online survey of 116 users at the agency) and objective reports from the agency’s electronic monitoring (EM) of PWU. Results of our hypothesis tests indicated that group norms, individual moral norms, and perceived time availability had an effect on PWU while boredom had no effect. Group norms moderated individual moral norms’ effect on PWU. Discrepancies between individuals’ self-reports and the agency’s electronic reports of PWU are explained in terms of differing perceptions of what defines PWU. We describe implications important to both scholars and practitioners.

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International Journal of Business Administration
ISSN 1923-4007(Print) ISSN 1923-4015(Online)


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