Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Legacy Department

Professional Communication


Taylor, Summer


This study examines the ways in which experienced and novice consultants in different organizational settings think about and use e-mail for communication to superiors. The methods by which novices in the workplace communicate via e-mail, especially to superiors, present a gap in the literature. Comparing novice and experienced employee e-mail behavior across organizational boundaries yielded several findings. First, employees seem to use particular decision criteria when formulating e-mail messages to managers, including considerations of the message's recipient and purpose. Novices seem most attuned to hierarchical levels and to the revision opportunities available through e-mail. Second, organizational context appears to affect the way in which e-mail is used by both novice and experienced employees. The two organizations' varying lines of business and hierarchical structures led the participants to emphasize certain e-mail attributes over others. And third, study participants across experience levels and organizations have difficulty in balancing relationship and organizational needs.

Included in

Linguistics Commons



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