Michaela Stumberger

Michaela Stumberger

  • University of Erfurt
  • communication science, faculty of philosophy
Participant in 2012

Phd Projects


Recovery at Work by Using Media: Recreational Experiences in the Context of Organisational Culture

This study examines the individual interplay of work and non-work phases in the workplace and shows how media use is related to this rhythmic alternation of qualitatively different actions. The starting points of this qualitative study are the recreational experiences of employees in the context of media use. First, the intent is to determine under what conditions and in which way the use or non-use of media creates a recovery experience. Second, the study shows how this experience is influenced by the structures of power, spatial arrangements and social relationships within the organisation. The project focuses on the subjective perspective of the employees: whether their media use (including the use of private devices) during working hours contributes to the experience of recovery. This study concentrates on media practices and is concerned with the identification of the meanings of recovery and with the handling of media technology, media choice and media content. Thus, on the one hand, the study analyses media practices as self-organised strategies adopted during work time to obtain recreational gratifications. On the other hand, it also reveals how and why these practices change in a working environment, which means that media use is considered as media appropriation. Because people in working situations are faced with an increasing, socially induced acceleration (of the speed of life, technology and social change) and, in conclusion, an increasing complexity in daily life as a result of digital technology, this research is theoretically framed by the process-oriented perspective of ”mediatisation”. The concept of mediatisation describes the continuing and increasing diffusion of mediated communication into everyday life as a social change and draws upon the Theory of Symbolic Interaction. Referring to this theory, the study examines the employee as an inhabitant and creator of the “symbolic world organisation“. Thus, an organisation is understood as a culture constituted by and through communication. In addition, the project refers to the domestication concept, which is theoretically grounded in Cultural Studies, and explains how media are appropriated by their users and integrated into their daily lives and how their lives and their environments are shaped by their use of media technologies. Empirically, this study relies on three qualitative case studies, using the grounded theory as a cross-case analysis. The data from each case will be collected mainly through person-centred in-depth interviews, participant observations and group discussions. The results of this study will show how individuals cope with the boundaries between work-related and non-work-related media practices at the workplace and, in so doing, will show in what way individual ideas of recreational media use are interdependently related to organisational culture. Thereby, the findings aim to provide transparency regarding the self-dependent and self-controlled (private) use and non-use of media at the workplace and enhance our understanding of today’s challenging mediatised working conditions.

Go back