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Reading electronic mail at the office: Exploring how and why organizational members read information
Unformatted Document Text:  Reading electronic mail 3 Reading electronic mail at the office: Exploring how and why organizational members read information At the beginning of a new millennium, there is little doubt we live in a so-called information society. The key characteristic of this information society is the expanding volumes of information surrounding us; people send increasing volumes of information to each other via various communication channels. This is also the case within organizations. Organizational members (i.e., managers and their subordinates) send information to each other via the various organizations’ communication channels, such as electronic mail, letters, memo’s and meetings. Therefore, we can speak of ensuring pressures upon organizational members to process all these volumes of information they receive. In this light, one of the central questions that has emerged is whether organizational members are able to cope with the information they receive at their office. There is quite a wide-ranging body of literature on the way in which organizational members use the organization’s communication channels to send information to each other (e.g., Rice & Shook, 1990; Trevino, Daft, & Lengel, 1990; Trevino, Webster, & Stein, 2000). However, research on the way in which organizational members process the information they receive via these communication channels from each other remained underdeveloped so far. Therefore, to examine whether organizational members are able to cope with the information they receive, one of the primary objectives of this study was to explore the way in which organizational members process the received information. It is said that there are millions of individuals who often spend significant proportions of their work time using electronic mail (Whittaker & Sidner, 1997). Hence, email seems to contribute greatly to the expanding volumes of information organizational members receive, and consequently, to the ensuring pressures to process the information. Therefore, this study

Authors: de Bakker, Suzanne. and Elving, Wim.
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Reading electronic mail 3
Reading electronic mail at the office:
Exploring how and why organizational members read information
At the beginning of a new millennium, there is little doubt we live in a so-called
information society. The key characteristic of this information society is the expanding
volumes of information surrounding us; people send increasing volumes of information to
each other via various communication channels. This is also the case within organizations.
Organizational members (i.e., managers and their subordinates) send information to each
other via the various organizations’ communication channels, such as electronic mail, letters,
memo’s and meetings. Therefore, we can speak of ensuring pressures upon organizational
members to process all these volumes of information they receive. In this light, one of the
central questions that has emerged is whether organizational members are able to cope with
the information they receive at their office.
There is quite a wide-ranging body of literature on the way in which organizational
members use the organization’s communication channels to send information to each other
(e.g., Rice & Shook, 1990; Trevino, Daft, & Lengel, 1990; Trevino, Webster, & Stein, 2000).
However, research on the way in which organizational members process the information they
receive via these communication channels from each other remained underdeveloped so far.
Therefore, to examine whether organizational members are able to cope with the information
they receive, one of the primary objectives of this study was to explore the way in which
organizational members process the received information.
It is said that there are millions of individuals who often spend significant proportions
of their work time using electronic mail (Whittaker & Sidner, 1997). Hence, email seems to
contribute greatly to the expanding volumes of information organizational members receive,
and consequently, to the ensuring pressures to process the information. Therefore, this study


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