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Reading electronic mail at the office: Exploring how and why organizational members read information
Unformatted Document Text:  Reading electronic mail 26 information played a large role in performing their job, are not able to read all the received email messages in their entirety or very thoroughly. Discussion and implications In this paper, we developed an exploratory pattern that describes the way in which organizational members process the information they receive via email at the office and gives explanations for the different ways of processing information. This pattern is based on results from a diary survey conducted in three organizations. Although the diary survey is usually considered as a more objective measure of human behavior and is said to require minimal memory work or recall on the part of the respondent (Robinson, 1999), diary surveys require commitment and motivation from individuals to participate in the study. This can become a problem if participants have to keep their diary for a certain period. As mentioned in the method section of this paper, an introduction meeting was held to try to solve this possible problem. However, some respondents stated that they did not always fill out the diary at the moment they were going to read an email message or were going to delete an email message, with data loss as a result. However, we think that the data are still reliable because the dataset contains enough cases to give an exploratory pattern on the way in which email messages were read and we never had the intention to draw specific conclusions on email use. Furthermore, research on the way in which organizational members process the information they receive from each other remained underdeveloped so far. Consequently, the assumptions made in this paper do not strongly dwell on argumentations from empirical literature. Therefore, with this exploratory pattern, we hope to address the current lack of a well-developed theoretical framework and the current lack of systematic empirical research. In effect, this paper lays out the groundwork for a theory of information processing at the office, in which the organizational members dealing with the expanding volumes of

Authors: de Bakker, Suzanne. and Elving, Wim.
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Reading electronic mail 26
information played a large role in performing their job, are not able to read all the received
email messages in their entirety or very thoroughly.
Discussion and implications
In this paper, we developed an exploratory pattern that describes the way in which
organizational members process the information they receive via email at the office and gives
explanations for the different ways of processing information. This pattern is based on results
from a diary survey conducted in three organizations. Although the diary survey is usually
considered as a more objective measure of human behavior and is said to require minimal
memory work or recall on the part of the respondent (Robinson, 1999), diary surveys require
commitment and motivation from individuals to participate in the study. This can become a
problem if participants have to keep their diary for a certain period. As mentioned in the
method section of this paper, an introduction meeting was held to try to solve this possible
problem. However, some respondents stated that they did not always fill out the diary at the
moment they were going to read an email message or were going to delete an email message,
with data loss as a result. However, we think that the data are still reliable because the dataset
contains enough cases to give an exploratory pattern on the way in which email messages
were read and we never had the intention to draw specific conclusions on email use.
Furthermore, research on the way in which organizational members process the
information they receive from each other remained underdeveloped so far. Consequently, the
assumptions made in this paper do not strongly dwell on argumentations from empirical
literature. Therefore, with this exploratory pattern, we hope to address the current lack of a
well-developed theoretical framework and the current lack of systematic empirical research.
In effect, this paper lays out the groundwork for a theory of information processing at the
office, in which the organizational members dealing with the expanding volumes of


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