Date of Award

Summer 2005

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Information Systems - (Ph.D.)

Department

Information Systems

First Advisor

Marilyn M. Tremaine

Second Advisor

Starr Roxanne Hiltz

Third Advisor

Yi-Fang Brook Wu

Fourth Advisor

Il Im

Fifth Advisor

Elizabeth F. Churchill

Abstract

This thesis work examines the time management strategies of individuals in an academic institution and gathers information on the complex temporal structures they experience and manage. Its focus is on understanding the relationship between the quality of individual time management and an individual's understanding and use of temporal structures. This work consists of an exploratory field study to gather data on how people use temporal structures with electronic tools. It is followed by a survey that is given to a larger group of respondents in the same subject population examined with the field study. The survey examines the hypotheses developed from a literature review on the impact and role of time in people's work lives coupled with the information uncovered in the filed study on time management practices. A research model is developed using partial least squares to examine the relationships between the key survey constructs.

This study demonstrates that the use and understanding of temporal structures is an important component for good individual time management. Four properties of individual time management quality were identified and utilized to characterize who are good time managers. These four properties include planning, meeting deadlines, sensing a lack of time control and engaging in procrastination. Significant differences are found in the use of explicit temporal structures, creation of temporal structures and understanding of temporal structure relationships between good time managers and poor time managers.

A research model was built to understand the interacting variable relationships. Significant differences in the relationships between quality of individual time management and various temporal structures were discovered among students, faculty and staff members in the university studied. Students mostly use and understand a range of explicit and implicit temporal structures in their personal time management. Faculty members focus on using explicit temporal structures and creating their own temporal structures to support their time management. Staff members only utilize the temporal structures to do time planning. Implicit temporal structure understanding helps them avoid procrastination in their work. We explain these results as follows. The students are greatly entrained by a large number of tight and short deadlines which they do not have power to adjust, e.g., assignment due dates. Faculty members have much more time control and flexibility to create their own temporal structures. Except for meeting classes and turning in grades, they set their own schedules. Staff members are not concerned with meeting deadlines. They have constantly shifting instantaneous demands, part of which is responding to others temporal structure needs. Thus, their temporal structures only support their time planning, and avoid potential work delay. This research concludes that people exhibit different time experience based on their professions. Furthermore, good time managers demonstrate more skill in capturing and using their temporal structures than poor time managers. Because the current information technologies do not provide much support to capture temporal structures explicitly, this study also implies that it is likely to be a valuable exercise to integrate temporal structure features into personal time management systems such as electronic calendar tools.

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