ERIC Number: ED348699
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1992-Feb
Reference Count: N/A
Electronic Identities: The Strategic Use of Email for Impression Management.
Kersten, Larry; Phillips, Stephen R.
Traditionally, e-mail (electronic mail) has been seen as an efficient communications medium for the transmission of simple, routine, unambiguous messages. More recent research has argued that the simple, efficient view of e-mail is incomplete. Future research should be extended into the strategic and symbolic functions of email, such as the use of email for impression management. Impression management has a lengthy and interesting development in the fields of sociology and social psychology, but has remained largely ignored by those in the field of communications. Communications scholars should focus on the potential use of email for impression management for three reasons: (1) the use of email influences the development, maintenance and distribution of power in organizations; (2) email has a potential impact on a worker's job satisfaction; and (3) as computer technology becomes more common, researchers should investigate the ways employees reinvent technologies to reach social goals. Data were gathered from over 1,100 messages from 25 employees at a west coast research institute affiliated with a major university. The data suggests that numerous behaviors exhibited by email users can be related to impression management, and provide examples of goals, illustrations of impression management (ingratiation, self-promotion, intimidation, exemplification, and supplication), and examples of four types of ceremony (personalization, keeping in touch, salutations and conclusions, and meta-messages). A methodology for the study of the ways email is used for impression management could be based on the strategy of triangulation of methods, which involves a series of dialogues. (Thirty-seven references are attached.) (HB)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Research; Information Analyses
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Communication Strategies; Computer Communication; Impression Management
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Western Speech Communication Association (63rd, Boise, ID, February 21-25, 1992).