advertisement
Home » News » Match Job to Multitask Ability

Match Job to Multitask Ability

For some, multitasking is a preferred method for work or home while for others, the barrage of sensory inputs is counterproductive to accomplishing anything.

A new study led by Elizabeth Poposki, Ph.D., may help employers identify employees who enjoy multitasking and are less inclined to quit jobs involving multitasking.

The study presents a new tool developed to measure preference for multitasking, information which may be of interest to bosses who tire of repeatedly hiring and training new employees.

A growing number of individuals must multitask at work and positions requiring a significant amount of multitasking typically have high turnover.

Even positions which in the past did not require multitasking may now do so as staff reductions require remaining workers to pick up additional assignments.

Technological innovations (e.g., e-mail) also create frequent interruptions. How workers feel about multitasking may influence their job satisfaction and the likelihood that they will quit, important factors in hiring and placement decisions.

Poposki and co-author Frederick L. Oswald, Ph.D., of Rice University, report on the conceptualization and design of the Multitasking Preference Inventory (MPI) in a study published in the journal Human Performance.

“Multitasking has now become an important component of job performance for a growing number of professions – air traffic controllers, 911 operators, taxi drivers, receptionists and countless others. We found that individuals who prefer to work on multiple tasks simultaneously enjoy the experience of multitasking more. This finding may sound like common sense, but if we have a tool to assess who will enjoy multitasking and who will not, we may be able to do a better job of selecting employees who will flourish in jobs requiring multitasking,” said Poposki, an industrial-organizational psychologist who takes a psychological perspective on analyzing the workplace.

In her next study she plans to use the new measuring tool in an attempt to predict job satisfaction and turnover among emergency response workers who multitask throughout their shifts.

Poposki notes that our current understanding of multitasking is relatively poor. Although many people believe that multitasking involves doing multiple things at once, the performance of multiple tasks actually requires the rapid shifting of attention among ongoing tasks.

“Neuroscientists tell us that the human brain is incapable of doing two things at once. What we do when we multitask is switch back and forth between tasks in a manner similar to how a computer goes back and forth between programs,” said Poposki.

As multitasking becomes more prevalent in society and workplaces, a better understanding of which workers prefer to work on multiple tasks simultaneously may ultimately aid in practical issues such as staff selection and retention.

Source: Indiana University School of Medicine

Match Job to Multitask Ability

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2015). Match Job to Multitask Ability. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 26, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/news/2010/09/15/match-job-to-multitask-ability/18165.html

 

Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 6 Oct 2015
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Oct 2015
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.