ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

Advances in Psychological Science ›› 2019, Vol. 27 ›› Issue (11): 1802-1811.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2019.01802

• Conceptual Framework • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Constant connectivity attenuates autonomy: Mechanism and consequences

WANG Haixia1, JIA Huiyuan2, SUN Hailong3, LI Aimei1   

  1. 1 Management School, Jinan University, Guangzhou 510632, China
    2 College of Business Administration, Capital University of Economics and Business, Beijing 100071, China
    3 School of Business, Guangdong University of Foreign Studies, Guangzhou 510420, China
  • Received:2019-03-25 Online:2019-10-31 Published:2019-09-23
  • Contact: LI Aimei


The development of the Internet era has led to the three major changes: the interconnectedness of all things, the scarcity of time, and the exhaustion of emotions. A key concept that connects these three growing trends is autonomy. When employees fail to control their own time at work, they experience the scarcity of time and emotional exhaustion. Previous research has found that constant Internet connectivity increases an individual’s autonomy in general scenarios. However, when employees are in a state of unbalanced power-dependency, constant Internet connectivity might decrease autonomy. Based on the power-dependency theory, follower’s asymmetric dependence and paternalistic authoritarian leadership are required in these unbalanced relationships. This project aims at exploring from a new perspective when and why constant Internet connectivity reduces autonomy and what the corresponding consequences are. The theoretical model challenges the prevailing notion that Internet connectivity increases autonomy, and it constructs a new theoretical basis for understanding employees’ autonomy in the context of Internet connectivity.

Key words: power-dependency theory, autonomy, constant Internet connectivity, paternalistic authoritarian leadership, emotional exhaustion

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