Cyberloafing—the use of an electronic device at work for an activity that an immediate supervisor would not consider work-related—is now the most common way that employees waste time at work. It is well established that social norms play a role in cyberloafing, but it is unknown what specific normative information employees attend to when deciding whether or not to cyberloaf. In Study 1, we tested which of four types of normative information could underlie the observed correlation between social norms and cyberloafing. We found that both perceptions of supervisor cyberloafing and perceptions of coworker cyberloafing accounted for unique variance in cyberloafing, and also discovered some evidence that the approval of these referents also had the same effect. In Study 2, we cross-validated these results from Study 1 using a sample that was reasonably representative of the general working population—supporting the generalizability of our findings from Study 1. Furthermore, we conducted supplemental analyses (relative weights analysis and polynomial regression) to untangle nuances in how normative data relates to cyberloafing. In Study 1, we also examined the role of actual norms—as opposed to perceived norms—and found evidence that actual supervisor cyberloafing does influence cyberloafing through employee perceptions of supervisor cyberloafing. Overall, this investigation serves to clarify how social influence plays a role in the cyberloafing phenomenon.
- non–work-related computing
- social norms