Purpose: In this study, the impact of boss phubbing, or using a phone during interaction with subordinates, on important employee outcomes — work meaningfulness and employee phubbing behavior — through the mediating role of self-esteem threat was investigated using affective events theory. The moderating role of rejection sensitivity was also examined.
Design/methodology/approach: Data were collected in three time lags from head nurses (N = 178) working in public and private hospitals. The hypothesized relationships were tested using variance-based structural equation modeling with partial least squares.
Findings: Boss phubbing negatively affected employees' sense of work meaningfulness and had a positive direct and indirect relationship with employee phubbing behavior through self-esteem threat. The hypothesized moderating role of rejection sensitivity was not supported.
Practical implications: The authors recommend that organizations develop policies addressing boss phubbing in the workplace, particularly in contexts in which a high leader–member exchange is desired for organizational effectiveness, such as health-related services. Superiors, such as doctors, should review their mobile phone usage during interactions with subordinates because it is detrimental to employee outcomes.
Originality/value: This study is a nascent attempt to test the hypothesized relationships on the emerging phenomenon of phubbing at work in the human–computer interaction domain in Pakistan, a developing country, particularly in hospital settings where a high leader–member exchange is pivotal.
Scopus Subject Areas
- Information Systems
- Library and Information Sciences
- Boss phubbing
- Employee phubbing behavior
- Medical professionals
- Rejection sensitivity
- Self-esteem threat
- Work meaningfulness