Being phubbed in the workplace: A new scale and implications for daily work engagement


Current Psychology, vol.40, no.12, pp.6212-6226, 2021 (SSCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 40 Issue: 12
  • Publication Date: 2021
  • Doi Number: 10.1007/s12144-021-01635-5
  • Journal Name: Current Psychology
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus, IBZ Online, BIOSIS, Business Source Elite, Business Source Premier, Psycinfo
  • Page Numbers: pp.6212-6226
  • Keywords: Phubbing, Smartphone use, Work engagement, Organizational culture, Daily diary
  • Istanbul Medipol University Affiliated: Yes


Phubbing is defined as the act of snubbing someone in a social setting by looking at the phone instead of paying attention. This paper aims to introduce and validate a new measure tapping frequency of being phubbed in the workplace (Study 1) and to present empirical evidence on whether being phubbed daily is detrimental for the day-to-day work engagement of employees (Study 2). Drawing on data from 793 participants, along with exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis and correlation analysis, we yielded validity and reliability support for the four-item Being Phubbed in the Workplace Scale (BPWS). In Study 2, a five-day daily diary with 112 participants (total N = 424), we validated the BPWS also on the day level. Despite the nonsignificant effect of being phubbed daily on day-to-day work engagement, we could find support for a boundary condition, that is, being phubbed will lead to a decrease only if a clan culture is present in an organization. Therefore, we concluded that the BPWS is a valid instrument to measure being phubbed in the work context, especially for process-oriented research, and that its detrimental effects are limited to organizational cultural boundaries.