Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Applied Communication Theory and Methodology


College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences

First Advisor

Kumar, Anup

Subject Headings



Research on the influence of multitasking behavior on efficacy of outcomes is mixed. Many researchers consider multitasking to enhance individuals’ productivity when it is managed properly, and others argue that it is detrimental in some cases. This study is about understanding multitasking behavior of young adults during group meetings. Group meetings are an integral part of communication practices in organization. Group meetings are essential for training, planning, and completing a task that requires participation from all members of a group. One of the norms in group meetings is the expectation to focus on task at hand and pay attention to what is going on in the meeting. However, today, as all of us carry powerful computing handheld devices, such as smartphones, there is a likelihood that we may use it to communicate with people outside a group meeting or to do a task unrelated to the meeting at hand. When young adults enter college, they get the opportunity to develop professional skills and abide by norms that guide such professional settings. They often put the skills and norms into practice as part of class projects, student organizations, work study employees in offices, or as interns in organizations. College students carry their experiences of working in groups and participating in office group meetings to the professional world when they graduate. However, today’s college students as digital natives seem to be more accepting of multitasking, especially using their handheld devices such as smartphones during group meetings. Studying college students’ attitudes with regards to multitasking during group meetings will help us understand their motivations for these behaviors. This study will examine the factors that influences multitasking behavior with respect to polychronicity, multicommunicating, utility of media and technology, social and professional norms, and big-five personality. The findings show that perception of media utility and technology and observing others behavior is stronger in predicting multitasking behavior. Additionally, the study found that when students come into college, they tend to be high multitaskers in group meetings, but as they stay in college and move from freshmen to senior, they tend to get socialized into multitasking during group meetings.

Included in

Communication Commons