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Responding to negatively emotive e-mails within organizations: Communicative strategies and their origins


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This paper reports an exploratory study of emotional communication in the use of e-mail by people in a variety of organizations. Specifically, we explored the strategies people use to respond to negatively emotive e-mails and the origins of these strategies. E-mail communication is emerging as perhaps the foremost method by which people communicate in many organizations. Emotional expression is an important part of any communication and its appropriate use is central to competent communication and to organizational functioning. Since e-mail is a leaner medium than face-to-face (FTF) or phone communication the expression of emotion may be more difficult. However, little research has been conducted on the emotional experience of people when communicating via e-mail. Thematic analysis was performed on the responses from open-ended e-mail surveys of eighteen participants from a variety of organizations. Findings indicated that responses to emotive emails may be seen to reflect two underlying dimensions: reactive-considered and engaging-disengaging. The origin of the strategies for managing emotional expression in e-mails came from a variety of sources, but most frequently, from the participants’ personal values and intuition, or their previous experience with the sender, rather than explicit guidelines or policies for e-mail use. Based on these findings, several recommendations for practice and future research are offered.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Email, Communication, Emotion
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Divisions: Schools > Centre for Health & Social Practice
Depositing User: Angela Stewart
Date Deposited: 28 Apr 2011 02:33
Last Modified: 21 Jul 2023 02:30

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