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This study examined the moderating role of polychronicity, the preference for multitasking, on the relationship between multitasking ability and performance. The results support the importance of fit in understanding the interaction between preference for and ability to multitask. The relationship between multitasking ability and an overall performance composite was stronger for individuals higher in polychronicity. For employees low in polychronicity, having the ability to multitask did not translate into meaningful performance differences.

Practitioner points

  • Overall job performance is optimal for employees with both the ability to multitask and the preference for doing so.
  • The relationship between multitasking ability and overall job performance is negligible for monochronic employees.