Euromoney would like to draw the attention of HR officers at various investment banks to the danger that BlackBerry use poses for their employees. Research conducted by Gayle Porter and David Bance of Rutgers-Camden business school in New Jersey, and Nada Kakabadse of the University of Northampton, shows that: “The fast and relentless pace of technology-enhanced work environments creates a source of stimulation that may become addictive.”
Anyone that has been in the presence of an investment banker in the past few years will have seen the all too obvious signs of CrackBerry abuse. Many adopt the “CrackBerry prayer” pose – hands together, shoulders hunched – as the connection to the corporate world is scanned for developments surrounding that latest deal or trade.
In recent months Euromoney has lunched with some of the higher intellects in the financial markets but struggled to engage with the fellow diner as he relentlessly scrolled his inbox. Goldman Sachs’s Bim Hundal, for instance, was so absorbed during one lunch with Euromoney hacks that he kept the device “discreetly” positioned just below table level throughout the meeting.
Our last meeting with Citigroup’s Eirik Winter was most notable for him alternating sending text messages on his phone while reading his ’Berry. Winter admits that the longest period in waking hours he has forsaken his BlackBerry is one hour – after his exasperated mother drowned it in a glass of water during a family meal. He used a hairdryer to revive the object of his addiction.
Although addiction to work has been a widespread phenomenon for some time, the scholars’ research suggests that employers might face legal liability for encouraging it. On one level it makes a lot of sense for bosses to encourage bankers to never switch off. But although it might benefit banks’ bottom line, it certainly does not help journalists in search of insight.