Email in style. Improving corporate email communications with employees at remote locations: A quantitative study

by Firari, Fairlie Allen, Ph.D., CAPELLA UNIVERSITY, 2007, 102 pages; 3278299

Abstract:

Today's company managers are under pressure to manage employees working in virtual environments who seem not to have faces or voices, whose names have become email addresses, and where everyone's middle name is the same, @. Managers of remote workers, members of these virtual communities, often defer to the most popular corporate communication channel sometimes referred to as electronic communication technology (ETC), computer-mediated communication (CMC) or email. There are, however, intrinsic problems with understanding the tone of email exchanges; recipients correctly interpret emails only about 50% of the time (Kruger & Epley, 2005), often leading to misunderstandings, ill will, flame wars, and a lack of trust and connectedness - all of which, if not managed or mitigated, negatively impact relationships and productivity. Therefore, email communication tools and techniques are needed to compensate for the absence of faces and voices, and to help gain understanding of a new cohort of communication social cues and norms necessary for minimizing conflict, increasing trust and productivity, and supporting cognitive effort applied to writing emails. The purpose of this study was to determine if email communication styles (e-styles) exist and then, when compared to in-person communication styles, determine if there is a correlation. Proving the existence of e-styles will provide managers with valuable insight for more effectively communicating with staff at dispersed locations. E-style identification provides new information to the body of knowledge, for understanding an employee's e-style, or propensity for using specific email social cues. This was accomplished by building a neural network to analyze the content of actual business emails.

AdviserKathleen Hargiss
SchoolCAPELLA UNIVERSITY
Source TypeDissertation
SubjectsManagement; Mass communication
Publication Number3278299

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