Much attention has been devoted to how technological advancements have created a brave new workplace, revolutionzing the ways in which work is being carried out, and how employees can improve their productivity and efficiency. However, the advent of technology has also opened up new avenues and opportunities for individuals to misbehave. This study focused on cyberloafing—the act of employees using their companies' internet access for personal purposes during work hours. Cyberloafing, thus, represents a form of production deviance. Using the theoretical frameworks offered by social exchange, organizational justice and neutralization, we examined the often-neglected dark side of the internet and the role that neutralization techniques play in facilitating this misbehavior at the workplace. Specifically, we developed a model which suggested that when individuals perceived their organizations to be distributively, procedurally and interactionally unjust, they were likely to invoke the metaphor of the ledger as a neutralization technique to legitimize their subsequent engagement in the act of cyberloafing.
Data were collected with the use of an electronic questionnaire and focus group interviews from 188 working adults with access to the internet at the workplace. Results of structural equation modelling provided empirical support for all of our hypotheses. Implications of our findings for organizational internet policies are discussed. Copyright © 2002 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.