The Effects of Information and Communication Technology Use on Human Energy and Fatigue: A Review

Publication: Working/Discussion PaperWU Working Paper

113 Downloads (Pure)


Information and communication technologies (ICTs) are generally assumed to save time and energy, yet user fatigue due to ICT use is on the rise. The question about the effects of ICT use on human energy and fatigue is marred by inconsistencies in terminology, definitions, and measures. The aim of this paper is therefore twofold. First, we provide a consolidation and classification of subjective energy and fatigue concepts from four leading research areas. Second, we review the empirical literature on the relationship between ICT use and seven different subjective energy and fatigue concepts from the four areas. We show that ICT use can both energize and fatigue users, sometimes even at the same time, a phenomenon that we term Digital Fatigue Paradox. Overall, there is more evidence for the fatiguing effect, which also appear to be stronger, even though ICT users might actually believe the opposite to be true. By consolidating the mechanisms through which ICT use energizes and fatigues users in a conceptual model, we provide initial explanation for the paradox and derive implications for organizational policy, ICT design, and regulation that strive to improve the user experience with ICTs and prevent ill-being, i.e., foster well-being.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationVienna
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2021

Publication series

SeriesWorking Papers / Institute for IS & Society

WU Working Paper Series

  • Working Papers / Institute for IS and Society

Cite this