Researchers at the University of Southern California, reporting their study of business etiquette and smartphones, said they found mobile manners vary by gender, age and region.
Discourteous behavior in the workplace can have real implications for careers, hiring and even workplace efficiency, they said, with tension among co-workers harming productivity.
"Hiring managers often cite courtesy as among the most important soft skills they notice," researcher Peter W. Cardon of the USC Marshall School of Business said. "By focusing on civility, young people entering the workforce may be able to set themselves apart."
Of the 550 full-time working professionals surveyed for the study, 76 percent said checking texts or emails was unacceptable behavior in business meetings, and 87 percent said answering a call was rarely or never acceptable in such circumstances.
Men were nearly twice as likely as women to consider mobile phone use at a business lunch acceptable, the study found; 59 percent of men said it was okay to check text messages at a power lunch compared to 34 percent of women who thought checking texts was appropriate.
Age was also a factor, the study found. Younger professionals were nearly three times as likely as older professionals to think tapping out a message over a business lunch is appropriate.
"Not surprisingly, millennials and younger professionals were more likely to be accepting of smartphone use, but they might be doing themselves a disservice," Cardon said. "In many situations, they [must] rely on those older than them for their career advancement."
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