Is cyberloafing more complex than we originally thought? Cyberloafing as a coping response to workplace aggression exposure

Stephanie A. Andel, Stacey R. Kessler, Shani Pindek, Gary Kleinman, Paul E. Spector

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Employees spend approximately 2 h per day engaging in cyberloafing (i.e., using the internet at work for nonwork purposes) behaviors, costing organizations almost $85 billion dollars per year. As a result, cyberloafing is often considered a counterproductive type of withdrawal behavior. However, recent research suggests that cyberloafing may have some unexpected positive workplace outcomes. Therefore, we argue that the role of workplace cyberloafing is more complex than previously assumed and posit that cyberloafing may provide employees with a way to cope with workplace stress such as exposure to workplace aggression. To examine this proposition, we used a heterogeneous sample of 258 employees to test whether cyberloafing buffers the detrimental effects of workplace aggression exposure on two outcome variables: employees’ turnover intentions and job satisfaction. Overall, results supported the notion that employees use cyberloafing as a workplace coping mechanism, which runs counter to the majority of research that conceptualizes cyberloafing as a counterproductive workplace behavior. These findings suggest that managers may consider allowing some degree of cyberloafing so that employees can better cope with work stress. Moreover, managers should directly target stressful workplace conditions (e.g., aggression) that serve as the impetus for cyberloafing behaviors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)124-130
Number of pages7
JournalComputers in Human Behavior
StatePublished - Dec 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported in part by the Sunshine Education and Research Center at the University of South Florida. The Center is supported by Training Grant No. T42-OH008438 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Elsevier Ltd


  • Aggression
  • Coping
  • Cyberloafing
  • Job satisfaction
  • Turnover
  • Work stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Psychology (all)


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