“You’ve Got Mail”: a Daily Investigation of Email Demands on Job Tension and Work-Family Conflict

David S. Steffensen, Charn P. McAllister, Pamela L. Perrewé, Gang Wang, C. Darren Brooks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Email represents a useful organizational tool that can facilitate rapid and flexible communication between organizations, managers, and employees regardless of their physical location (e.g., office, home, on vacation). However, despite the potential benefits of email, its usage is a double-edged sword that also has the potential to negatively affect its users. To advance knowledge and inform both researchers and practitioners of such negative outcomes, we integrate the job demands-resources model with spillover theory to investigate email as a potential job demand and explore how it may relate to employees’ job tension and work-family conflict. Using an interval-contingent experience sampling methodology with respondents from two separate organizations (n = 134) providing 704 observations across 6 days of surveys, we hypothesize that, as a job demand, email can have negative consequences on the job that can spill over into the home. Furthermore, we also examine an individual trait (i.e., trait self-regulation) as a potential boundary condition that moderates the extent to which experienced tension from email demands spills over into home life. Finally, theoretical and practical implications are also discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)325-338
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Business and Psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2022


  • Email
  • Job demands
  • Job tension
  • Trait self-regulation
  • Work-family conflict

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • General Business, Management and Accounting
  • Applied Psychology
  • General Psychology


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