As the volume of available information increases, individuals and organisations become overwhelmed by the plethora of information. This can reduce productivity and performance, hinder learning and innovation, affect decision making and well-being and cost organisations large amounts of money. This paper develops a new theory-based model of factors affecting information overload and provides a formula for calculating the extent of overload, potentially of use as a diagnostic tool supporting individual or organisational development.
Two methods for categorising factors that contribute to the overload phenomena are introduced. The first method separates those factors based on their direct or indirect effect on information overload, called intrinsic and extraneous factors respectively. The second method divides factors based on whether or not the factor increases or decreases information overload likelihood and tags those factors in terms of ‘For’ or ‘Against’. These new methods for categorisation not only assisted in the development of the conceptual model and in creating the formula, but could be used in other aspects of information overload research, such as finding and evaluating countermeasures to information overload. The model and the formula presented in the paper provide a significant contribution to the information overload body of research.
► We examine existing factors related to information overload. ► The factors are categorised to aid in the modelling of information overload. ► A model containing the factors of information overload is constructed. ► A formula to calculate the extent of information overload is derived.