Monday, December 20, 2004

 

MARKUS’S ARTICLE ON THE USE OF E-MAIL BY MANAGERS

Markus’s article on the use of E-mail by managers held a great deal of resonance for me. As an officer of a publication company here on campus, I find that the technology has been most effective in communicating with my colleagues and employees asynchronously. Based in the information richness theory, among the great advantages of utilizing email today versus other common modes of communication (i.e.: voice mail, hand- or type-written messages etc.) are the opportunities for timely feedback, the ability to convey multiple cues, language variety. Personally, I find the ability to tailor messages to personal, as well as professional, circumstances to be the greatest attribute of e-mail.

In many instances, I am faced with the responsibility of corresponding with multiple people simultaneously on professional matters with the realization that we communicate and interact differently from an individual basis. Collectively, however, we have not all been able to effectively communicate and interact due to such constraints as time and space. These recurrences have nearly threatened our ability accomplish many important tasks pertinent to our organization. Email allows one to take his/her time to create, edit, and revise messages tailored to address a single receiver or multiple recipients.

I think what is key to successful use of this medium is knowing with whom one is communicating. Having some familiarity of the sender or the receiver will help the other understand what the message pertains to - thereby making the message more effective. In other cases, knowing an individual’s position within or outside an organization can be conducive to understanding the nature and business behind the message. Another advantage to the medium is that it allows the author and the recipient(s) to have a recorded log of when a message was sent. As a result this minimizes, if not eliminate, the loss or removal of important messages through other media such as the telephone or print.

Since this research was conducted about 10 years ago, it was not surprising to find that the participants of this research were more inclined to discuss personal matters in person than via email and more professional matters via email. For one, with such concerns and regulations in the workplace regarding the use of this technology (that still exist in many companies today), email is an electronic convenience like many others before that can be appropriated for so many other uses. The great thing about email is that it has evolved into a synchronous medium thanks to the innovation of instant messaging via the internet and cellular phones thereby permeating between being a synchronous and asynchronous medium.

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