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Reading electronic mail at the office: Exploring how and why organizational members read information
Unformatted Document Text:  Reading electronic mail 21 as for participants with a low need for cognition emerges. Participants with an average need for cognition read the email messages in their entirety. Whether they read the messages very thoroughly or not seems to be determined by the role information played in performing their job. If information played a small role, the participants read the email messages more thoroughly than if information played a large role. Conclusion This study used electronic mail as an organization’s communication channel to explore the way in which organizational members process information they receive at the office. The results showed that both characteristics of email messages and characteristics of individuals can be considered as possible explanations for the way in which organizational members read email messages in a certain way. With respect to the characteristics of the email messages, there are differences. The results from organization A showed that the way in which email messages were read depends strongly on the type of information of the message. It turned out that email messages containing job information were read more in their entirety and more thoroughly than email messages containing other types of information. The results from organization B, on the other hand, showed that the way in which email messages were read strongly depends on the source of the message. It turned out that email messages from middle managers and from peers were read more in their entirety and more thoroughly than email messages from other sources. The results from organization C showed that the way in which email messages were read depends on the type of information as well as on the source of the message. It turned out that email messages from middle managers containing job or organizational information and messages from peers containing job information were read more thoroughly than other messages.

Authors: de Bakker, Suzanne. and Elving, Wim.
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Reading electronic mail 21
as for participants with a low need for cognition emerges. Participants with an average need
for cognition read the email messages in their entirety. Whether they read the messages very
thoroughly or not seems to be determined by the role information played in performing their
job. If information played a small role, the participants read the email messages more
thoroughly than if information played a large role.
Conclusion
This study used electronic mail as an organization’s communication channel to
explore the way in which organizational members process information they receive at the
office. The results showed that both characteristics of email messages and characteristics of
individuals can be considered as possible explanations for the way in which organizational
members read email messages in a certain way.
With respect to the characteristics of the email messages, there are differences. The
results from organization A showed that the way in which email messages were read depends
strongly on the type of information of the message. It turned out that email messages
containing job information were read more in their entirety and more thoroughly than email
messages containing other types of information. The results from organization B, on the other
hand, showed that the way in which email messages were read strongly depends on the source
of the message. It turned out that email messages from middle managers and from peers were
read more in their entirety and more thoroughly than email messages from other sources. The
results from organization C showed that the way in which email messages were read depends
on the type of information as well as on the source of the message. It turned out that email
messages from middle managers containing job or organizational information and messages
from peers containing job information were read more thoroughly than other messages.


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