How does social media fit in the workplace?

Pamela Waltz
Pamela Waltz

NIU Department of Psychology doctoral candidate Pamela Waltz was selected as a recipient of a 2015 American Psychological Association Dissertation Research Award.

“I was definitely excited,” Waltz said. “Winning a competitive national research award is truly a reflection of the exceptional training and mentoring I received as a graduate student at NIU’s Industrial-Organizational (I-O) program.”

The subject of Waltz’s dissertation proposal explores the effects of an employee’s personal use of social media, such as Facebook, during the workday.

“My research asks whether social media ‘micro-breaks’ are effective strategies that workers use to manage their energy during the workday,” Waltz said. “Most of the existing research has examined personal web use at work as a deviant behavior that detracts from worker productivity. I want to know if it might actually benefit worker productivity by reducing fatigue and increasing the energy that workers have available to devote to job-related tasks.”

As part of the award, the American Psychological Association granted Waltz $1,000 to assist with her dissertation research.

“Dissertation research is expensive; it takes a lot of money to incentivize people to complete surveys every two hours while they are at work,” Waltz said. “The grant money will go a long way toward meeting those expenses.”

Waltz plans to defend her dissertation in March.

by Jane Donahue

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