The use of personal electronic devices by professionals can both increase efficiency and create distractions. Because of this dichotomy, perceptions of the use of personal electronic devices in meetings may be divided. The purpose of this study is to determine how personal electronic device use in face-to-face organizational meetings is perceived, how perceptions are changing over time, which factor has the greatest influence on perceptions, and how this influential factor shapes and guides perceptions. In order to make these determinations, a two-phase study is conducted. In phase one, a content analysis of comments left in response to articles and blogs published online is performed. In phase two, semi-structured, in-person interviews are conducted and analyzed. The results of these two phases indicate 1) general perceptions of device use in face-to-face organizational meetings are more negative than positive; 2) perceptions of device use appear to be becoming more negative over time; 3) perceptions of device use may be becoming more polarized; 4) device use in meetings may be becoming a more popular topic of discussion; 5) rank or status may be the most influential factor; 6) higher-ranked professionals may tend to have more positive perceptions of device use in meetings, while lower-ranked professionals may have more negative perceptions; 7) device use in meetings by higher-ranked individuals may be considered more acceptable than use by lower-ranked individuals; and, 8) higher-ranked employees may be more likely to accept device use by all levels of employees, while lower-ranked employees may feel device use is more acceptable for those of higher ranks than those of lower ranks.


Kristen Treinen

First Committee Member

Deepa Oommen

Second Committee Member

Jasper S. Hunt

Date of Degree




Document Type



Master of Arts (MA)


Communication Studies


Arts and Humanities

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.