Intentional and unintentional consequences of substituting face-to-face interaction with e-mail: An employee-based perspective

Paula O'Kane, Owen Hargie

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    19 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    In this article, we undertake empirical research into e-mail communication in the workplace to provide organizations with practical information about how employees can effectively manage their e-mail interactions. We employ an interpretative, qualitative methodology to examine their views of e-mail. Specifically, we consider the interaction between this and traditional face-to-face (F2F) contact. Theoretical ideas are subject to empirical scrutiny from a database of 29 in-depth interviews with users. The findings suggest that as computer-mediated communication (CMC) intensifies, communication is increasingly characterized by a complex interplay between CMC and F2F, with e-mail affecting communication in positive and negative ways, and also with intended and unintended outcomes. For organizations, the key is to raise employee awareness about their e-mail communications in order to maximize effectiveness and prevent negative outcomes such as back-covering and relationship breakdown. The results inform the development of a conceptual framework for the interpretation and investigation of e-mail communications. (C) 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
    LanguageEnglish
    Pages20-31
    JournalInteracting with Computers
    Volume19
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Jan 2007

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    Electronic mail
    Interaction
    Employees
    Communication
    Computer-mediated communication
    Data base
    Empirical research
    Work place
    Breakdown
    Qualitative methodology
    Conceptual framework
    In-depth interviews

    Cite this

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    abstract = "In this article, we undertake empirical research into e-mail communication in the workplace to provide organizations with practical information about how employees can effectively manage their e-mail interactions. We employ an interpretative, qualitative methodology to examine their views of e-mail. Specifically, we consider the interaction between this and traditional face-to-face (F2F) contact. Theoretical ideas are subject to empirical scrutiny from a database of 29 in-depth interviews with users. The findings suggest that as computer-mediated communication (CMC) intensifies, communication is increasingly characterized by a complex interplay between CMC and F2F, with e-mail affecting communication in positive and negative ways, and also with intended and unintended outcomes. For organizations, the key is to raise employee awareness about their e-mail communications in order to maximize effectiveness and prevent negative outcomes such as back-covering and relationship breakdown. The results inform the development of a conceptual framework for the interpretation and investigation of e-mail communications. (C) 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.",
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    Intentional and unintentional consequences of substituting face-to-face interaction with e-mail: An employee-based perspective. / O'Kane, Paula; Hargie, Owen.

    In: Interacting with Computers, Vol. 19, No. 1, 01.2007, p. 20-31.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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