Role Boundary Permeability

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Definition

Role boundary permeability is a way of describing the phenomenon that happens when a person experiences emotions from one place in another because of a connection to a mobile device. The phrase was coined by psychologist Noelle Chesley in a 2005 study [1] of 1,367 men and women who work, have family and use cell phones.

Role boundary permeability could also be described as spillover theory, "which proposes that the work microsystem and the family microsystem significantly influence one another through a permeable boundary".[2] Increased boundary permeability allows one to experience emotions and behaviors from one place in a completely different place, generating a kind of nested emotional state[3] These feelings may or may not line up with one's actual surroundings.

The degree of boundary permeability is based on the likelihood and ambient connectivity one role has to another by way of technosocial device. One's role as a worker may allow one "to be physically located in the role’s domain, but psychologically or behaviorally involved in another role"[4] such as that of a father. Ringxiety is often associated with role boundary permeability, as one may expect a call from one's children at work.

References

  1. Chesley, Noelle. Blurring Boundaries? Linking Technology Use, Spillover, Individual Distress, and Family Satisfaction. Journal of Marriage and Family. Volume 67, Issue 5, pages 1237–1248, December 2005. Article first published online: 21 Nov. 2005. https://www4.uwm.edu/letsci/sociology/faculty/pdf/upload/Chesley-Blurred-Boundaries.pdf
  2. Zedeck, S. (1992). Work, families, and organizations. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
  3. Grzywacz, J. G., & Marks, N. F. (2000). Reconceptualizing the work-family interface: An ecological perspective on the correlates of positive and nega- tive spillover between work and family. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 5, 111–126.
  4. Ashforth, B. E., Kreiner, G. E., & Fugate, M. (2000). All in a day’s work: Boundaries and micro role transitions. Academy of Management Review, 25, 472–491. p. 474 in Chesley, Noelle. Blurring Boundaries? Linking Technology Use, Spillover, Individual Distress, and Family Satisfaction. Journal of Marriage and Family. Volume 67, Issue 5, pages 1237–1248, December 2005. Article first published online: 21 Nov. 2005. https://www4.uwm.edu/letsci/sociology/faculty/pdf/upload/Chesley-Blurred-Boundaries.pdf