Faculty Publications

Exploring the Complex Relationships Between Factors That Affect Employee Cyberloafing Using a Novel Approach: Findings from Fuzzy-Set Qualitative Comparative Analysis

Document Type



cyberloafing, deterrence theory, equity theory, fuzzy-set qualitative comparative analysis (fsQCA), reward, sanction, social learning theory

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking





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Cyberloafing is a workplace problem that has emerged over the past two decades and continues to be problematic as workers’ schedules become more flexible and deterrents associated with being physically present in an office are unavailable. Understanding the complex conditions under which employees are more likely to engage in cyberloafing activity continues to be valuable for businesses. This study identifies and models seven conditions that influence cyberloafing and investigates how interconnected social and deterrence factors affect employees’ cyberloafing behavior. With a cross-sectional random sample of 324 employees from 14 provinces in China, the necessary condition analysis is used to identify the necessary conditions for high cyberloafing, and the fuzzy-set qualitative comparative approach is conducted to explore the configurational impacts of multiple antecedent conditions on high cyberloafing. The results show that no single condition is necessary for a high level of employee cyberloafing and that three distinct configurations of multiple conditions equivalently contribute to high cyberloafing among employees. Among all configurations, high visibility of cyberloafing, a lack of certainty of formal sanctions, and a lack of reward for not cyberloafing play important roles in explaining employees’ cyberloafing. This study is the first to use fuzzy-set qualitative comparative analysis to explore how different combinations of social and reinforcement antecedents contribute to cyberloafing, which goes beyond existing research that explores antecedents independently and offers new insights into cyberloafing’s interconnected antecedents and their complex causality.


Department of Accounting

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