Journal of Management Information Systems

Volume 34 Number 1 2017 pp. 141-176

To Cyberloaf or Not to Cyberloaf: The Impact of the Announcement of Formal Organizational Controls

Khansa, Lara, Kuem, Jungwon, Siponen, Mikko, and Kim, Sung S


We investigate the changing causal relationships between cyberloafing behavior and its antecedents after the announcement of formal organizational controls that, unlike informal controls, are officially imposed by organizations. Drawing on Akers’s social learning theory, we first propose neutralization, perceived risk, past cyberloafing, and peer cyberloafing as antecedents of cyberloafing. We then develop a theoretical account of how their impacts change from before to after the announcement of formal controls. The proposed model was empirically tested using data collected from two separate surveys administered a month apart. The first survey captured the preannouncement state of cyberloafing among respondents; the follow-up survey was administered after the respondents were asked to assume that their company had just announced anti-cyberloafing controls that used explicit monitoring and sanctions. We show that preannouncement, employees’ intentions to cyberloaf are mostly influenced by their past tendencies to cyberloaf and by others’ cyberloafing, but their neutralization and perceived risk play no significant role. In contrast, postannouncement, the impacts of individuals’ neutralization and perceived risk on their cyberloafing suddenly become significant. Theoretically, we demonstrate that to accurately predict noncompliant behavior, it is important to account for all four antecedents and incorporate the announcement of formal controls. Practically, understanding how this announcement affects the relationships between cyberloafing and its antecedents suggests different areas managers need to target, pre- and postannouncement, to curb cyberloafing.

Key words and phrases: cyberloafing, formal controls, neutralization, past cyberloafing, peer cyberloafing, perceived risk, social learning theory