Browse Definitions:
Definition

interruption science

Contributor(s): Ivy Wigmore

Interruption science is the study of how disruptions from current tasks affect employees on the job. 

Disruptions include both self-directed interruptions, such as checking Facebook or Twitter, and external interruptions, such as email notifications, phone calls, texts, instant messages and in-person visits. As part of the larger field of workplace psychology, interruption science explores the impact of these events on employee stress, job satisfaction and productivity. 

At the University of California at Irvine, researcher Gloria Mark found that, on average, workers are interrupted every 3 minutes and that it takes 23 minutes after even a very brief interruption to return to the original task. 

Researchers found that workers could learn to compensate for interruptions by working faster between events. However, the increased speed was found to lead to "more stress, higher frustration, time pressure and effort" on the part of workers.

Interruption science provides insight into why multitasking is so ineffective. Although people believe they are simultaneously performing multiple tasks, what they're actually doing is continuously switching from one task to another, an activity called rapid toggling. Each time an employee changes tasks, it is an interruption. For the typical multitasker, those interruptions can reduce productivity by as much as 40 percent and cause an effective 10 point drop in IQ. 

See also: email management, goldbricking

This was last updated in July 2014

Continue Reading About interruption science

Start the conversation

Send me notifications when other members comment.

By submitting you agree to receive email from TechTarget and its partners. If you reside outside of the United States, you consent to having your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States. Privacy

Please create a username to comment.

-ADS BY GOOGLE

File Extensions and File Formats

SearchCompliance

  • pure risk (absolute risk)

    Pure risk, also called absolute risk, is a category of threat that is beyond human control and has only one possible outcome if ...

  • risk assessment

    Risk assessment is the identification of hazards that could negatively impact an organization's ability to conduct business.

  • audit program (audit plan)

    An audit program, also called an audit plan, is an action plan that documents what procedures an auditor will follow to validate ...

SearchSecurity

  • computer worm

    A computer worm is a type of malicious software program whose primary function is to infect other computers while remaining ...

  • black hat

    Black hat refers to a hacker who breaks into a computer system or network with malicious intent.

  • copyright

    Copyright is a legal term describing ownership of control of the rights to the use and distribution of certain works of creative ...

SearchHealthIT

SearchDisasterRecovery

  • business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR)

    Business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR) are closely related practices that describe an organization's preparation for ...

  • business continuity plan (BCP)

    A business continuity plan (BCP) is a document that consists of the critical information an organization needs to continue ...

  • call tree

    A call tree -- sometimes referred to as a phone tree -- is a telecommunications chain for notifying specific individuals of an ...

SearchStorage

SearchSolidStateStorage

  • RRAM or ReRAM (resistive RAM)

    RRAM or ReRAM (resistive random access memory) is a form of nonvolatile storage that operates by changing the resistance of a ...

  • JEDEC

    JEDEC is a global industry group that develops open standards for microelectronics.

  • M.2 SSD

    An M.2 SSD is a solid-state drive (SSD) that conforms to a computer industry specification written for internally mounted storage...

SearchCloudStorage

  • Google Cloud Storage

    Google Cloud Storage is an enterprise public cloud storage platform that can house large unstructured data sets.

  • RESTful API

    A RESTful application program interface breaks down a transaction to create a series of small modules, each of which addresses an...

  • cloud storage infrastructure

    Cloud storage infrastructure is the hardware and software framework that supports the computing requirements of a private or ...

Close