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Reading electronic mail at the office: Exploring how and why organizational members read information
Unformatted Document Text:  Reading electronic mail 5 However, the example of Mackay and the current literature do not reveal explanations for processing information in different ways. For example, why do organizational members read all the email messages they receive, or why do organizational members read the email messages they receive not very thoroughly? Therefore, we addressed the following question: “Why do organizational members read the information they receive via electronic mail in different ways?” Possible explanations for processing information It is imaginable that there are various explanations for reading information in a certain way. A first explanation could be that certain types of information, of which a message contains, are more relevant for organizational members than other types of information. Applicable, helpful, needed, significant or useful information for organizational members is relevant information to them (Zmud, 1978). As the primary activity of organizational members is performing their job, it is plausible to assume that information about their daily job is the type of information most relevant to them. Therefore, email messages containing job information are supposed to be read more in their entirety and more thoroughly than email messages with other types of information. Furthermore, organizational members want to understand, predict, and control their environment (Morrison, 1993). Therefore, it is imaginable that information about their immediate environment is also relevant information for organizational members, and therefore, email messages containing information about the immediate environment are supposed to be read quite well. However, we do not propose a specific relationship between this characteristic of an email message and the way in which the email message is read. In stead, we will explore this relationship by assuming that the way in which organizational members read email messages is associated with the type of information of those email messages.

Authors: de Bakker, Suzanne. and Elving, Wim.
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Reading electronic mail 5
However, the example of Mackay and the current literature do not reveal explanations for
processing information in different ways. For example, why do organizational members read
all the email messages they receive, or why do organizational members read the email
messages they receive not very thoroughly? Therefore, we addressed the following question:
“Why do organizational members read the information they receive via electronic mail in
different ways?”
Possible explanations for processing information
It is imaginable that there are various explanations for reading information in a certain
way. A first explanation could be that certain types of information, of which a message
contains, are more relevant for organizational members than other types of information.
Applicable, helpful, needed, significant or useful information for organizational members is
relevant information to them (Zmud, 1978). As the primary activity of organizational
members is performing their job, it is plausible to assume that information about their daily
job is the type of information most relevant to them. Therefore, email messages containing
job information are supposed to be read more in their entirety and more thoroughly than email
messages with other types of information. Furthermore, organizational members want to
understand, predict, and control their environment (Morrison, 1993). Therefore, it is
imaginable that information about their immediate environment is also relevant information
for organizational members, and therefore, email messages containing information about the
immediate environment are supposed to be read quite well. However, we do not propose a
specific relationship between this characteristic of an email message and the way in which the
email message is read. In stead, we will explore this relationship by assuming that the way in
which organizational members read email messages is associated with the type of information
of those email messages.


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