Breaking out from Constant Connectivity: Agentic Regulation of Smartphone Use. By: Russo, Marcello; Ollier-Malaterre, Ariane; and Morandin, Gabriele. 2019. Computers in Human Behavior.

Most of the interruptions caused by smartphones and other communication technologies are initiated by the individuals themselves. Likewise, breakouts from connectivity are enacted by individuals who want to disconnect. The present study examines human agency in the face of material agency, and specifically the decisions that people make to disconnect from their smartphone so as to regulate their connectivity states and the motivations that drive such decisions. We analyze a corpus of LinkedIn comments posted on an article discussing the excessive use of mobile phones and build a typology of motivations underlying disconnection decisions. Individuals in our sample were likely to regulate their connectivity both with a promotion focus, to achieve gains at work and outside of work, and with a prevention focus, to avoid losses in these two domains. Moreover, disconnection decisions are simultaneously driven by the logic of consequences and the logic of appropriateness. Contrary to the popular depiction of connectivity resulting in work invading the non-work domain, people in this sample were likely to engage in disconnection decisions to protect both the work and non-work domains from potential distractions induced by communication technologies.