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ERIC Number: EJ879121
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 11
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 10
ISSN: ISSN-1080-5699
Designing Email Messages for Corporate Readers: A Case Study of Effective and Ineffective Rhetorical Strategies at a "Fortune" 100 Company
DeKay, Sam H.
Business Communication Quarterly, v73 n1 p109-119 2010
Within the last 12 years, email has emerged as the most commonly used form of written communication in the corporate workplace. Several factors have contributed to the widespread use of email. This form of communication is generally rapid, is more economical than distributing or mailing printed documents, and permits simultaneous communication with large numbers of recipients. In addition, email is highly practical for organizations whose employees are geographically dispersed. In corporate environments, email messages have expanded beyond their original function as electronic versions of paper memoranda. Indeed, email now encompasses a broad array of genres: (1) newsletters; (2) order confirmations; (3) shipping receipts; (4) account alerts; (5) short reports; (6) announcements; and (7) corporate bulletins. However, despite the ubiquity of email in business settings, academic researchers have been reluctant to examine email from the perspective of document design. Guides to document design, written primarily for technical writers, generally also neglect to consider email as an appropriate topic for consideration. Indeed, several researchers in the field of document design have concluded that email is an impoverished medium, offering few opportunities for creative communication. This article, based on a recent case study focusing on email usage at a "Fortune" 100 company, disputes the notion that email design is a sterile research field for document designers and business communicators. The study suggests that email messages, especially companywide communications originating from senior management, are most likely to be read by an intended audience if messages are designed to incorporate complex sets of visual and textual conventions specifically intended to achieve rhetorical objectives. In addition, the study examines the manner by which flouting these conventions may result in serious communication failure. This article also provides insight into the effective rhetorical strategies for designing email messages for corporate readers. The author compares the impact of two design methods on the effectiveness of email messages for employees of a "Fortune" 100 company, examining the factors of genres and pragmatic functions of the email messages. (Contains 2 figures and 1 table.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Adult Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A