Charlotte Fritz

Date of Award

Fall 11-18-2013

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Applied Psychology



Physical Description

1 online resource (v, 151 pages)


Interruption (Psychology) -- Case studies, Performance -- Psychological aspects -- Case studies, Performance -- Physiological aspects -- Case studies, Information services industry -- Labor productivity -- Case studies, Computer service industry -- Labor productivity -- Case studies




Intrusions, or interruptions by others, are a common phenomenon in the modern workplace (Grove, 1983; Jett & George, 2003), particularly in the computing and information-technology (CIT) industry, as cross-specialty, and cross-team collaborations become more common (Beck et al., 2001). The present study examines the relationship between day-to-day intrusions (measured Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday) and strain reactions and perceived job performance over the week (measured on Thursday) among 150 CIT employees. Using a number of resource-based theories (i.e., Conservation of Resources, Ego Depletion Model, Cognitive Fatigue Model), I hypothesize that participants experiencing more frequent intrusions on a day-to-day basis will experience greater levels of overall strain reactions (i.e., fatigue, self-regulation failure, and cognitive failure), and lower levels of overall perceived job performance for the week. To test these hypotheses, I applied a micro-macro multi-wave design, such that intrusions were measured at the end of three consecutive workdays (Level-1 Predictors) and strain reactions and performance measured on the fourth day (Level-2 Outcomes). Using Structural Equation Modeling and the technique put forth by Croon and van Veldhoven (2007), I specified four models to test my hypotheses, wherein level-1 variables (i.e., day-to-day intrusions) predicted level-2 outcomes (i.e., week-level fatigue, self-regulation failure, cognitive failure, and perceived performance).

I found that day-to-day intrusions were significantly positively associated with fatigue, self-regulation failure, and perceived performance. However, day-to-day intrusions were not significantly associated with cognitive failure. These results suggest that intrusions may consume time and self-regulatory resources but may not consume cognitive resources, and that although intrusions cause impairment from a physical and self-regulatory perspective, they may not inhibit cognitive functioning. Future research should further investigate the relationship between intrusions and cognitive functioning. The present study is one of the first to explicitly study intrusions and recognize it as a stressor that influences both strain and performance variables. This is critical as intrusions become a more prominent fixture in the American workplace. This study also contributes to our understanding of the use of micro-macro approaches to statistical analyses, and provides additional insight into how occupational health psychologists can test long-held assumptions; namely day-to-day stressors contribute to long-term strain.

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