Thanks for Stopping By! An Examination of the Costs and Benefits of Workplace Intrusions

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Workplace intrusions—unexpected encounters initiated by another person that disrupt an individual’s work—are generally characterized as negative experiences that deplete resources, increase role and information overload, and promote strain. My research

Workplace intrusions—unexpected encounters initiated by another person that disrupt an individual’s work—are generally characterized as negative experiences that deplete resources, increase role and information overload, and promote strain. My research challenges this consensus by arguing that intrusions may also provide benefits to the employees who are intruded upon. Specifically, I investigate how intrusions impact the extent to which employees engage in their own work—engagement—and the extent to which they engage with others at work—collaboration. I also investigate the indirect effects of different types of intrusions on employees’ task-focused and person-focused citizenship through these mechanisms. I tested my predictions utilizing experience sampling methodology (Study 1), a within-person experimental critical incident study (Study 2), and an experiment (Study 3). My research investigates the dynamics of various types of workplace intrusions, with results suggesting that intrusions may lead to beneficial employee outcomes in addition to the adverse outcomes previously demonstrated in the literature. Given the ubiquitous nature of intrusions in organizations, these findings have both theoretical and practical significance.