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Reading electronic mail at the office: Exploring how and why organizational members read information
Unformatted Document Text:  Reading electronic mail 23 out in the direction that the participants gave preference to email messages containing job information. This result subscribes to the assumption we made that email messages containing job information are relevant to organizational members. Therefore, these messages are supposed to be read more in their entirety and more thoroughly than email messages with other types of information. With respect to the source as an email message characteristic, the results pointed out in the direction that the participants gave preference to email messages from middle managers and peers. This result subscribes to the assumption we made that email messages from immediate supervisors and peers are relevant to organizational members. Therefore, these messages are supposed to be read more in their entirety and more thoroughly than email messages from other sources. With respect to the characteristics of the organizational members as information processors, the participants of organization A and C showed some similarities, while the participants from organization B differed much from the participants of organization A and C. The results from organization A and C showed that participants with a low need for cognition read the email messages more in their entirety and more thoroughly than participants with a high need for cognition. In particular, it turned out that participants with a low need for cognition read email messages more in their entirety and more thoroughly when information played a small role in performing their job than when information played a large role in performing their job. The results from organization B, on the other hand, showed that the way in which the participants read the email messages does not strongly depend on the degree of their need for cognition and the extent of which information played a role in performing their job. However, there is a slight tendency that the participants with a high need for cognition read the email messages more in their entirety and more thoroughly than the participants with an average and a low need for cognition.

Authors: de Bakker, Suzanne. and Elving, Wim.
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Reading electronic mail 23
out in the direction that the participants gave preference to email messages containing job
information. This result subscribes to the assumption we made that email messages containing
job information are relevant to organizational members. Therefore, these messages are
supposed to be read more in their entirety and more thoroughly than email messages with
other types of information. With respect to the source as an email message characteristic, the
results pointed out in the direction that the participants gave preference to email messages
from middle managers and peers. This result subscribes to the assumption we made that email
messages from immediate supervisors and peers are relevant to organizational members.
Therefore, these messages are supposed to be read more in their entirety and more thoroughly
than email messages from other sources.
With respect to the characteristics of the organizational members as information
processors, the participants of organization A and C showed some similarities, while the
participants from organization B differed much from the participants of organization A and C.
The results from organization A and C showed that participants with a low need for cognition
read the email messages more in their entirety and more thoroughly than participants with a
high need for cognition. In particular, it turned out that participants with a low need for
cognition read email messages more in their entirety and more thoroughly when information
played a small role in performing their job than when information played a large role in
performing their job. The results from organization B, on the other hand, showed that the way
in which the participants read the email messages does not strongly depend on the degree of
their need for cognition and the extent of which information played a role in performing their
job. However, there is a slight tendency that the participants with a high need for cognition
read the email messages more in their entirety and more thoroughly than the participants with
an average and a low need for cognition.


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