E-mail: History, Relation, and Impact on effective Business Communication
Email in Business Communication
Impact of Email to Business Communication
Implications of Emails as Business Communication Tools
Email is an important form of communication in today's organization that is increasingly seeing a geographical dispersal of the workforce. To communication tool has replaced traditional business letters and memos in preference for email memos. The research carried out a review of literature on email and business communication and found the tool is used in 100% of businesses today. However, despite the wide acceptance, the tool lacks in social and visual cues which lender the messages toneless. The lack of tone and physical gestures leads to misinterpretation, ill will, disconnectedness, loss of intellectual capital and integrity for the business. The research finds that the informal history of emails, heterogeneity among users, technological limitations in social-emotions, and lack of business communication standards as the cause of the limitations.
Email in Business Communication
The introduction of the internet provided key tools in communication, which provide new receiver and sender applications like forums, email, blogs, and Voice-Over-Internet-Protocol (VoIP). Many of these have proven popular and useful among businesses and workplaces. The popularity increases with the rapid evolution of the workplace from a single office premise to a geographically dispersed workplace. Business managers today continually disperse business operations through means like outsourcing, internalization, and subcontracting to increase economies of scale and gain a competitive advantage (Ferari, 2007). These geographically diverse teams drive businesses to use communication technology like video conferencing, VoIP, Wi-Fi, and email. The electronic mail has seen rapid growth and has become a toll in business communication over other forms of communication. This has brought out issues like etiquette rules in business correspondence, which businesspersons need to learn and adopt (Agnew & Hill, 2009). In business communication, the basic principles of communication are expected to apply to all forms of communication, even electronic mail. The challenge for man businesspersons is the email's positive reflection on the business professional aspect. Electronic mail is also expected to adhere to the professionalism and courtesy needed in business communication. This requirement is increasingly important today as the electronic mail is more widely used in communication.
Email has made it easier for bosses and organizations to communicate more effectively in the workplace. However, the tool creates unpleasant distractions, manic messages, and disagreements in the workplace. Frequent email messages between employees and management has lead to the laying down of protocols in many businesses to reduce email amounts and find balance at work (PR Newswire, 2012). The need to investigate email as an effective or distraction to sound business communication arises from its rapid use today. Managers need to realize the role email is playing the workplace and the impact it has on employees and productivity. These facts make up the driving force of this research as a thorough qualitative analysis of literature is done to find scientific evidence and data on email as a tool in business communication.
Background and Significance of the Topic
A study carried out by Kahn & Blair (2004) shows that email is rapidly becoming an important tool in communication. The survey indicates that 100% of the organizations surveyed used emails, 74% saw the tool as productive with clear benefits. The survey indicated that the organizations used new technologies in business communication, with 100% using the email (Kahn & Blair, 2004). Of the surveyed 59% used mobile messaging, 81% used wireless Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs), 71% used online discussion forums, and 51% used peer-to-peer file sharing. This shows that by 2004, all business used email communication as part of business communication in any business processes. This rapid development of the communication in the world of business has humble beginnings. This tool was a creation of a team of inspired individuals from technological, government, and professional forums seeking a means to share conversations and ideals.
Emails as a tool of communication began with email marketing and commercial internet in 1969, as the U.S. Defense Department during the cold war created ARPANET (Davis & Mullen, 2011). ARPANET was a computer-based message system created to survive nuclear attacks. The design was to allow individuals to communicate with each asynchronously despite their position (Wallace, 2004). In the early stages, electronic communication entailed a file sharing system, where an individual would post a note in a folder for another to see. By the 1980s, the internet had expanded to other institutions like universities that enjoyed connected digital messaging using internet services like Usenet (Davis & Mullen, 2011). The messaging systems were founded on mainframes mostly found with government and major institutions. The evolution of information technology to microprocessor chips, led to the creation of improved, faster, and efficient technologies like the laptop and personal computers. As the personal computer was rapidly adopted in business, so did electronic messaging became a business communication tool following the creation of user-friendly software.
By the late 1980s, the first electronic messaging commercial providers appeared like CompuServe and MCI, with the internet soon following (Davis & Mullen, 2011). This increased personal connectivity led to increased conversation in business as employees communicated over online sources like Usenet group. As the internet connected the globe, new and improved technologies emerged like Yahoo and Hotmail, which later were joined by Gmail. Businesses began using these messaging tools as their popularity increased in the world (Wallace, 2004). Moreover, businesses also developed their own messaging systems over their intranets using file sharing systems and company websites. In the last five years, electronic messaging tools from social media platforms are used for business communication, mainly for marketing.
Currently, business managers manage employees in virtual workplaces, often deferring to common corporate communication channels including email, computer-mediated communication (CMC), and electronic communication technology (ETC). This is because traditional communication channels like business letters or telephone can be expensive and time consuming. The evolution of the email in the business communication from it informal roots has caused confusion. Electronic mail construction is an informal tool of communication, but its use in business communication creates confusion on its role and norms (Wallace, 2004). The challenge for the business organization is the proper definition of email as a business communication toll given that few business curricula have defined templates of email business letters.
The proper formatting of business letters and the lack of defined formatting of email messages calls for the definition of etiquette in electronic messaging. Email messages are having diverse positive and negative effects on a business (Kruger, Epley, & Parker, 2005). While they may reach a wider target market for the marketer, they may create the wrong impression on a potential investor. This study identifies that email will continually be widely utilized in business communication, since organizations will continue to set up remote locations. Organizations continually need these locations to support business driven culture, decrease real estate costs, employee attrition, energy and pollution, and increase employee productivity and profitability (Ferari, 2007). Therefore, there is need to investigate its role in business, effect, and practices as compared to conventional business communication.
Moreover, studies like that of Kruger, Epley, and Parker (2005) show there is a connection between egocentrism and email misunderstandings, indicating the people write and interpret emails based on their perspective and make the assumption that receivers will understand the intention. In addition, Enemark (2006) finds that management of conflict difficult especially through emails, which do not use verbal and non-verbal cues. They are informal, transmitted quickly, miss critical paralinguistic signals like volume, tone, and pitch.
This foundation forms the basis for this research, as valuable information is created on email and its role in business communication. The study is essential given the diverse views on the correct business formats for email messages, the divergent ideas of how to use the email, and its consequent effects to a business. The study finds that there is need in the scholarly community to investigate ways to strike a balance between personal and virtual communication in business communication. To investigate the role of email as a business communication tool, a thorough review of literature is performed.
Electronic mail is experiencing a rapid growth especially in the last five years following an increase in outsourcing and internationalization ventures businesses are engaging in. The rapid growth of email in business communication is associated to the advantages it creates to business communication. According to Lesikar, Flatley, and Rentz (2008), email is a more effective communication tool to the telephone, especially where there is language and cultural barrier. Emails are preferred for long distant business communication for they eliminate the telephone tag, save time, speed up decision-making, are cost effective, and still provide records like conventional business communication tools.
According to Hughes, Stolley, and Driscoll (2007) email is experiencing popularity for it facilitates fast and convenient flow of information between users across different time zones and locations. This is an added advantage given that mail services for any business is too slow…