University of Georgia

Taking care of business

Illustration by Shaw Nielsen

Research from two Terry College of Business professors spotlights workplace issues with negative consequences for employees—after-hours communication and venting.

Elena Karahanna
Elena Karahanna

In a paper published in MIS Quarterly, Elena Karahanna explored how different communications technologies take a toll on employees when they’re off the clock.

“Phone calls have the largest effect on feeling exhausted at work and at home,” says Karahanna, professor of management information systems. “The effects of text messaging are not quite as negative as phone calls but worse than email.”

Meanwhile Jessica Rodell, associate professor of management, found that venting about unfair situations at the water cooler may do more harm than good.

Jessica Rodell
Jessica Rodell

“We normally think of listening as a good thing—and it usually is. But simply listening can reinforce a negative view of an event and cause people to ruminate longer on a bad experience,” she says. “So instead of moving past it, the experience becomes something that people relive again and again.”

Rodell’s study was published in the Academy of Management Journal.

This brief appeared in the spring 2019 issue of  Research Magazine. The original stories are available at and