ERIC Number: ED418279
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1995
Reference Count: N/A
Information Technology for Workplace Communication. Workscape 21: The Ecology of New Ways of Working.
Becker, Franklin; Tennessen, Carolyn M.; Young, David
A study was undertaken to understand the role of electronic communication technologies (ECTs) in maintaining work-related communication. The study site was Sun Microsystems, a company at the high end of the curve in terms of its commitment to and employees' experience with ECTs. An electronic focus group (n=40, 4% response) and an e-mail survey with 396 responses (15% response) were used for data collection. No significant differences were found in use of or response to ECTs as a function of age, gender, or years in the company. Most employees used ECTs for the vast majority of their workplace communication needs, but the value of ECTs was limited for certain types of communications, such as discussions on complex and sensitive issues. They were insufficient for team building, consensus building, and conflict resolution. Most agreed that relying on ECTs for communication increased the likelihood of miscommunications and loss of privacy. Respondents saw ECTs as a less immediate form of communication and this became more true with the constant increase in the number of messages people were trying to deal with. Group work could sometimes be limited by ECTs, depending upon the group's size and expertise in communicating electronically. Some just felt the need for face-to-face communication. At the same time, many respondents reported ECTs, especially e-mail, helped them meet new people at Sun and develop and maintain social relationships. (Appendixes contain 28 references and the survey instrument.) (YLB)
Descriptors: Adult Education, Business Communication, Computer Mediated Communication, Information Networks, Information Technology, Online Systems, Organizational Change, Organizational Development, Teleconferencing, Telephone Communications Systems, Work Environment
International Workplace Studies Program, E-213 MVR Hall, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853 ($20).
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: State Univ. of New York, Ithaca. Coll. of Human Ecology at Cornell Univ.
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