Article

A quasi-experiment approach to study the effect of e-mail management training

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Abstract

This study investigates the question as to whether e-mail management training can alleviate the problem of time pressure linked to inadequate use of e-mail. A quasi-experiment was devised and carried out in an organizational setting to test the effect of an e-mail training program on four variables, e-mail self-efficacy, e-mail-specific time management, perceived time control over e-mail use, and estimated time spent in e-mail. With 175 subjects in the experimental group, and 105 subjects in the control group, data were collected before and after the experiment. ANCOVA analysis of the data demonstrated possible amount of time saving with an e-mail management training program. In addition, better perceived time control over e-mail use was observed. Since the change of e-mail-specific time management behavior was not significant, but e-mail self-efficacy improved substantially, it suggested that the major mediating process for better perceived time control over e-mail use and less estimated time spent in e-mail was through improved e-mail self-efficacy rather than a change of e-mail-specific time-management behavior.

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... The amount of time e-mail use consumes varies among users. 52 For example, some people take 5 minutes to write and send an e-mail that takes other people 1 minute. 52 Fortunately, training has been shown to be effective for making users more proficient in e-mail use (see below section on Learning E-Mail). ...
... 52 For example, some people take 5 minutes to write and send an e-mail that takes other people 1 minute. 52 Fortunately, training has been shown to be effective for making users more proficient in e-mail use (see below section on Learning E-Mail). 21,22,[52][53][54] Because it is important that a manager seeking advice uses a communication channel in which they are proficient or can become proficient with training, e-mail appears to be ideal in this respect because it is ubiquitous and easily used by nearly all professionals. ...
... 52 Fortunately, training has been shown to be effective for making users more proficient in e-mail use (see below section on Learning E-Mail). 21,22,[52][53][54] Because it is important that a manager seeking advice uses a communication channel in which they are proficient or can become proficient with training, e-mail appears to be ideal in this respect because it is ubiquitous and easily used by nearly all professionals. ...
Article
For many problems in operating room and anesthesia group management, there are tasks with optimal decisions, and yet experienced personnel tend to make decisions that are worse or no better than random chance. Such decisions include staff scheduling, case scheduling, moving cases among operating rooms, and choosing patient arrival times. In such settings, operating room management leadership decision-making should typically be autocratic rather than participative. Autocratic-style decision-making calls for managers to solicit and consider feedback from stakeholders in the decision outcome but to make the decision themselves using their expert knowledge and the facts received. For this to be effective, often the manager will obtain expert advice from outside the organization (e.g., health system). In this narrative review, we evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of using prompt asynchronous written communication (i.e., e-mail) as a communication channel for such interaction between a decision-maker (manager) and advisor. A detailed Appendix (Supplemental Digital Content, http://links.lww.com/AA/B72) lists each observational and experimental result. We find that the current ubiquitous role of e-mail for such communication is appropriate. Its benefits include improved time management via asynchronicity, low cognitive load (e.g., relative to Web conferencing), the ability to hide undesirable and irrelevant cues (e.g., physical appearance), the appropriateness of adding desirable cues (e.g., titles and degrees), the opportunity to provide written expression of confidence, and the ability for the advisor to demonstrate the answer for the decision-maker. Given that the manager is e-mailing an advisor whose competence the manager trusts, it is unnecessary to use a richer communication channel to develop trust. Finally, many of the limitations of e-mail can be rectified through training. We expect that decades from now, e-mail (i.e., asynchronous writing) between an expert and decision-maker will remain the dominant means of communication for intellective tasks.
... Over the last ten years, many studies explored email communications training effectiveness. Most of these studies focused on performance improvements with key themes related to: (a) decreased time spent on emails (Burgess, Jackson, & Edwards, 2004;Huang, Lin, & Lin, 2011;Moore & Moore, 2004;Soucek & Mouser, 2010), (b) better use of subject lines (Burgess, Jackson, & Edwards, 2004;Jackson & Culjak, 2006), (c) decreased message misunderstandings (Aguilar-Roca, William, Warrior, & O'Doud, 2009;Huang, Lin, & Lin, 2001;Jackson & Culjack, 2006;Moore & Moore, 2004), and (d) decreased costs associated with email use (Burgess, Jackson, & Edwards, 2004;Jackson & Culjack, 2006). The training themes in these studies included: (a) use of subject lines, (b) time management when dealing with emails, (c) formatting emails, and (d) writing for clarity. ...
... The training themes in these studies included: (a) use of subject lines, (b) time management when dealing with emails, (c) formatting emails, and (d) writing for clarity. While some researchers found training participants did not take the class and subsequent skill assessment seriously (Pittenger, Miller, & Allison, 2006), others found that participants experienced increased perceptions of emailing abilities (Huang, Lin, & Lin, 2011), improved grammar, spelling and punctuation (Hof & Ashworth, 2010), and faster replies to emails (Huang, Lin, & Lin, 2011;Moore & Moore, 2004;Soucek & Moser, 2010). Combined, these effects produced better-written emails that were both clearer and more succinct, which reduced the overall financial impact on organizations who delivered such training. ...
... The training themes in these studies included: (a) use of subject lines, (b) time management when dealing with emails, (c) formatting emails, and (d) writing for clarity. While some researchers found training participants did not take the class and subsequent skill assessment seriously (Pittenger, Miller, & Allison, 2006), others found that participants experienced increased perceptions of emailing abilities (Huang, Lin, & Lin, 2011), improved grammar, spelling and punctuation (Hof & Ashworth, 2010), and faster replies to emails (Huang, Lin, & Lin, 2011;Moore & Moore, 2004;Soucek & Moser, 2010). Combined, these effects produced better-written emails that were both clearer and more succinct, which reduced the overall financial impact on organizations who delivered such training. ...
Article
Business writing is a much-studied area of corporate training and has the opportunity to enhance the organization's capabilities in a variety of ways. Previous research demonstrated post-training improvements in time spent on emails, better understanding by readers, and decreased costs associated with emails. This study evaluated a 1-hour business writing training workshop's impact on the organization using multiple perspectives, a sample writing analysis, and follow-up measurements to identify improvements. The purpose was to understand how the training changed the participants' email writing practices. Following the training, participants and their supervisors were pleased with the design and improved email effectiveness resulted. Introduction Background Over the last ten years, many studies explored email communications training effectiveness. Most of these studies focused on performance improvements with key themes related to: (a) decreased time spent on emails (Burgess, Jackson, & Edwards, 2004; Huang, Lin, & Lin, 2011; Moore & Moore, 2004; Soucek & Mouser, 2010), (b) better use of subject lines (Burgess, Jackson, & Edwards, 2004; Jackson & Culjak, 2006), (c) decreased message misunderstandings (Aguilar-Roca, William, Warrior, & O'Doud, 2009; Huang, Lin, & Lin, 2001; Jackson & Culjack, 2006; Moore & Moore, 2004), and (d) decreased costs associated with email use (Burgess, Jackson, & Edwards, 2004; Jackson & Culjack, 2006). The training themes in these studies included: (a) use of subject lines, (b) time management when dealing with emails, (c) formatting emails, and (d) writing for clarity. While some researchers found training participants did not take the class and subsequent skill assessment seriously (Pittenger, Miller, & Allison, 2006), others found that participants experienced increased perceptions of emailing abilities (Huang, Lin, & Lin, 2011), improved grammar, spelling and punctuation (Hof & Ashworth, 2010), and faster replies to emails (Huang, Lin, & Lin, 2011; Moore & Moore, 2004; Soucek & Moser, 2010). Combined, these effects produced better-written emails that were both clearer and more succinct, which reduced the overall financial impact on organizations who delivered such training. In this study, instructional designers created the Business Writing 101 Workshop to address a significant organizational business need – the need to write clear and concise emails to customers. Feedback from customers prompted senior leaders to seek out a learning solution in order to improve customer relations. The training development, delivery, and evaluation used these identified themes from the literature with the intent to achieve a positive return on investment for the organization. The training course was a one-hour, instructor-led course attended by 15-30 participants at a time. Each participant received a learning journal to take notes as he or she followed the facilitator's PowerPoint presentation. The presentation focused on the importance of a well-written email. Facilitators used dialogue and real-life examples to explore topics such as email structure, sentence structure, using words for maximum effect, positive versus negative tone, active versus passive verbs, avoiding jargon use, and proper spelling, punctuation, and capitalization. Facilitators showed participants how a G.R.E.A.T.
... Waste within public sector organisations, such as Further Education colleges, has become a central political issue and focus (HM Treasury, 2013). Neither is it something that is easy to justify in the present austerity climate with pressure on the public purse. ...
... Time spent is significantly higher than in studies carried out by Frazee (1996), Lyons (2002) and Silverstone (2010). However, it is lower than observed in studies carried out by Davenport (2005) and Huang et al. (2011). It is worth noting that in each of these cases there are differences in approach, sample size and scope. ...
Book
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Haslett, S. K., & Usei, C. B. (eds), 2018. Wales Journal of Learning and Teaching in Higher Education, Volume 1, Number 1, 1-80pp.
... A study of 239 workers by Sevinc and D'Ambra (2010), found that giving people a specific email management tactic significantly reduced perceptions of overload. However, in another interesting study of 416 participants by Huang et al (2011), a formal email training programme resulted in an improvement in people's perceived control over their email, and self-reported self-efficacy (even after three months), but actual time management behaviours were not directly impacted by the training. The authors conclude that it is better to use email training to build a sense of control and competence over email, which will then, in turn create strategy improvements and reduce strain. ...
... The strategies being used by workers (as reported in the studies returned from the SLR) that were found to have a positive relationship with different facets of wellbeing (see Outcomes column) are outlined in the table below, along with example studies reporting this in the SLR. Active checking and clearing of the email inbox Dabbish and Kraut, 2006;Kalman and Ravid, 2015;Pignata et al., 2015;Renaud et al., 2006 Implementing training tactics in better email use Sevinc and D'Ambra, 2010 High reported control Processing more email Barley et al., 2011 Receiving email training that boosts self-efficacy Huang et al., 2011 Catching up with email outside of working hours Middleton and Cukier, 2006;Pignata et al., 2015;Renaud et al., 2006;Wajcman and Rose, 2011;Waller and Ragsdell, 2012 Low reported strain Active email use (filing, responding, etc.) ...
Technical Report
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Remit: The remit for this programme of research was therefore to provide Acas with an overview of the current state of empirical research into email-use and to outline validated findings from psychology, management and HCI research domains about: (i) when work email may cause problems for people, (ii) when work email has beneficial outcomes for people, (iii) whether there are particular groups that are more or less impacted by issues associated with work email, and, (iv) what strategies are associated with positive and negative outcomes, relating to how people deal with work email. Our primary aim in this research programme was therefore to identify themes that would explain the emergence of work email strategies, which have positive and negative repercussions for productivity (including work performance and goal achievement) and wellbeing (including engagement and strain). We also aimed to provide evidence-based learning points about which strategies might be adopted by workers and organisations, to optimise the positive impact of work email, and reduce potentially negative outcomes.
... Self-efficacy is a regulation resource that Park and Kim (2019) consider to be trainable. It has previously been associated with successful interventions to change work (Wang et al., 2018) and work-email (Hair, Renaud & Ramsey, 2007;Huang et al., 2011) behaviors. Second, we suggest that rationalized action plans be regularly presented to participants across the duration of the intervention program, to continue to remind participants of what they need to do, how they need to do it, and why. ...
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... 720 öğrencinin vermiş olduğu geri dönütlerden elde edilen verilere göre Tablo 1'deki sonuçlar ortaya çıkmıştır [5]: Yukarıda aktarılan bilgiler ışığında internet ortamında en yoğun yapılan işlemlerden birinin "e-posta ile iletişim" olduğu söylenebilir. Bu araç, son 30 yılda özel bir internet uygulamasından genel iletişim aracına doğru gelişmiş [8] ve çalışma ve işbirliği şeklimizi değiştirerek milyonlarca insanın günlük yaşamının bir parçası haline gelmiştir [9]. Tıpkı kimlik numaraları gibi kişiye özel olan bu araç, sadece bireysel anlamda olmayıp aynı zamanda kurumsal anlamda da eşit derecede öneme sahiptir. ...
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E-posta hesapları, her türlü işlemin dijital ortam üzerinden hızlı bir şekilde bitirilmesi noktasında her birey için oldukça önemlidir. Bireylere özgü olan bu araç sayesinde, iletişim halindeki taraflar arasında sağlıklı ve hızlı bir iletişim ağı oluşturmak mümkündür. Bu sayede, belki de günlerce sürecek işlemlerin tamamlanma süreleri azaltılabilmektedir. Bu avantaj, kurumlar açısından düşünüldüğünde, kurumlarda çalışan kişilerin hesap sahibi olma zorunluluğunu da beraberinde getirmektedir. Çünkü kurumlarda yapılan her türlü işin daha hızlı bir biçimde çözüme kavuşturulması amacıyla e-posta hesaplarının aktif kullanımı artık bir gereklilik haline gelmiştir. Kurumlarda çalışan kişilerin çok olmasından dolayı, bireylere e-posta hesabının verilmesi noktasında, sorumlu kişilerin iş yükü artabilmektedir. Bu çalışmada, kurumsal e-posta hesaplarının daha hızlı oluşturulabilmesi, bu hesapların kontrolünün daha rahat yapılabilmesi ve bu işlemlerden yetkili olan kişilerin iş yüklerinin hafifletilmesi amacıyla Kırklareli Üniversitesi Bilgi İşlem Daire Başkanlığı tarafından geliştirilmiş olan bir uygulamanın (KLUPOSTA) alt yapısı hakkında bilgiler aktarılmaktadır. E-posta hesabı işlemlerinin daha hızlı ve pratik bir şekilde gerçekleştirilebilmesi amacıyla bu çalışmada kullanılan alt yapının, farklı kurumların geliştirebilecekleri uygulamalara yön gösterebileceği düşünülmektedir.
... Email usage is deeply entrenched into the communication habits of employees within organizations. It has been associated with higher task accomplishment and life enrichment (Huang, Lin, & Lin, 2011) and has also given workers the ability to work anywhere at any time (Barley, Meyerson, & Grodal, 2011). However, the influence of email communication on employees has been equivocal. ...
Chapter
Agile working practices involve connecting with new technologies in order to operate more flexibly, efficiently and responsively. Electronic mail (or email) is one technology that particularly enables this, owing to its anywhere, anytime, anyplace functionality. However, there is a paradox in the way that workers use work-email, with research reporting as many benefits as drawbacks to this ubiquitous tool. In this chapter, it is suggested that individual differences in personality, resources and goal-preferences can explain why such a paradox has emerged, and guidance is given as to how to tailor agile working to allow individuals to more effectively use work-email.
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Using 414 business undergraduates at two universities in the US, a 28-item computer self-efficacy scale is validated and used to examine the relationship between (a) training and computer self-efficacy and (b) user attitudes and computer self-efficacy. Survey responses were collected both at the beginning and end of an introductory computer course. A principal factor analysis of the computer self-efficacy scale supported a conceptually meaningful four-factor solution with high alpha reliabilities. Results suggest that training significantly improved the computer self-efficacy of males and females in this study for all factors. Training programs seemed more effective for male and female respondents with positive attitudes toward computers. Training programs seemed less effective for respondents with negative attitudes toward computers. Implications of these findings are discussed and research opportunities described.
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In an increasingly competitive business environment, organisations have sought to increase productivity and reduce costs. The consequences of this for many employees include increased workloads, longer working hours and greater time pressures which, the evidence suggests, are linked to stress, high rates of absence and turnover. At the same time there has been an increasing emphasis on the desirability of achieving work/life balance for individuals. In pursuit of these apparently conflicting demands it has been argued that individuals must work 'smarter' rather than harder and that individuals need to develop the ability to manage their time effectively to achieve this. Yet, previous research on time management training has been limited in scope, open to criticism in terms of research approach and inconclusive in assessing the effectiveness of such training. This paper reports the results of a longitudinal and triangulated evaluation of time management training undertaken in a variety of organisational settings, which sought to establish whether the training was effective, not only from the viewpoint of the participants, but also from the perspective of their managers. The evidence, collected using quantitative and qualitative approaches, suggests that although such training is affected by context and motivation, it does have a positive impact for the majority of participants.
Article
The purpose of this study was to examine the moderating effect of self-efficacy for the relationship between training method and newcomers' anxiety and stress reactions. The two methods of training examined were formal orientation and training and tutorial training. A sample of 198 newly-hired entry-level accountants completed a questionnaire following their first few weeks of entry. The results indicated that self-efficacy was negatively related to anxiety but not stress. However, a positive relationship between anxiety and stress suggested that self-efficacy was indirectly related to stress through its relationship with anxiety. Further, self-efficacy was found to moderate the relationship between training method and anxiety. Formal orientation and training was related to lower anxiety for newcomers with low technical self-efficacy. The opposite result was found for tutorial training. Tutorial training was related to higher anxiety for newcomers with low academic self-efficacy. The relationship between training and anxiety did not vary by training method for newcomers with high self-efficacy. The research and practical implications of a self-efficacy theory framework are discussed for the training, socialization, and adjustment of newcomers.
Article
The Technology Acceptance Model (TAM) has been widely used to predict user acceptance and use based on perceived ease of use and usefulness. However, in order to design effective training interventions to improve user acceptance, it is necessary to better understand the antecedents and determinants of key acceptance constructs. In this research, we focus on understanding the determinants of perceived ease of use. Data from three experiments spanning 108 subjects and six different systems supported our hypothesis that an individual's perception of a particular system's ease of use is anchored to her or his general computer self-efficacy at all times, and objective usability has an impact on ease of use perceptions about a specific system only after direct experience with the system. In addition to being an important research issue in user acceptance research, understanding antecedents of perceived ease of use is also important from a practical standpoint since several systems in which millions of dollars are invested are rejected because of poor user interfaces. Moreover, the actual underlying problem might be low computer self-efficacy of the target user group. In such cases, training interventions aimed at improving computer self-efficacy of users may be more effective than improved interface design for increasing user acceptance.
Article
Criteria for evaluating structural equation models with latent variables are defined, critiqued, and illustrated. An overall program for model evaluation is proposed based upon an interpretation of converging and diverging evidence. Model assessment is considered to be a complex process mixing statistical criteria with philosophical, historical, and theoretical elements. Inevitably the process entails some attempt at a reconcilation between so-called objective and subjective norms.
Article
This study used a path analysis of longitudinal data collected from 75 manufacturing employees participating in a computer training course, to test a model of the intrapersonal processes impacting computer-related performance. Gender, computer experience, and attributional style were found to be predictive of computer attitudes, which were in turn related to computer efficacy, task-specific performance expectations, and post-performance anxiety. Computer training was effective in raising user efficacy levels and improving computer performance. In addition, post-training efficacy was predictive of subsequent computer performance. Finally, performance outcomes and future performance expectations were predictive of users’ affective reactions.
Article
Information Technology has assumed a role of growing importance in both private and public sector organizations during the 1980's. It is no longer the private preserve of small groups of computer specialists; rather, the office automation and end-user computing trends are placing information technology into the hands of workers at all levels and in areas. The emergence of the business microcomputer has played a central role in this trend. This study investigates microcomputer usage among professionals and managers. Microcomputer was found to be related to computer experience and anxiety about its impact. The results also indicate that a strong, significant, and positive relationship exists between participation in computer training programs and MIS success, as measured by microcomputer usage.
Article
This article reports on the effects of training on Internet self-efficacy and computer user attitudes. Using a 17-item Internet self-efficacy scale and a 20-item computer user attitude scale in a sample of 189, the relationship between training and computer user attitude and Internet self-efficacy is examined. Survey responses were collected at both the beginning and end of an introductory computer course. Results suggest that training significantly improved Internet self-efficacy for males and females. Respondents with ‘high’ and ‘low’ attitude toward computers seem to equally benefit from training programs. However, respondents with ‘high’ attitude toward computers had higher self-efficacy scores than respondents with ‘low’ attitude toward computers. Training programs did not seem to influence attitudes toward computer usage for males or females. Implications of these findings are discussed and further research opportunities described.
Article
This report investigates the determinants of a successful Computer-Aided Software Engineering (CASE) tool implementation. Success was defined as a perceived increase in both the quality of software produced and the productivity of the software developers as a result of the introduction of technology. To investigate the effects of certain environmental conditions on the relative success, a survey was mailed to two hundred members of a specific CASE tool user group. Approximately thirty-five percent responded. The findings indicate that an environment which includes the enforcement of a development methodology and use of metrics contribute to perceived improvements in quality when using CASE. Also, use of metrics, use of consultants, and formal training contribute to perceived improvements in developer productivity. Apparently, the presence of each of these environmental conditions significantly contributes to a successful CASE implementation and is, therefore, a 'determinant' of a successful implementation strategy.
Article
This study investigated influences on employee self-efficacy of computer technologies resulting from computer training programs that were intended to meet individual and organization objectives for university personnel. Subsequent to training, an assessment of employee computer technology self-efficacy was necessary for determining self-efficacious duration and the usefulness of technical education. A descriptive survey design was used to gather data from a population of 2597 university employees. Results indicated employee computer technology self-efficacy levels remained stable for a 2.5-year period. In addition, select subscales of the variables previous classroom computer training and computer use required on the job predicted computer technology self-efficacy. Frequency of computer use, home computer use, and training responsibility were also noted to influence the transfer of training process as it pertains to computer technology self-efficacy. Interaction relationships were also discovered among certain disciplines of computer use and degree of computer use. Implications of the study are relevant to employee placement and workplace computer education needs.
Article
The present study compared the effects of training method and computer anxiety on learners' computer self-efficacy and learning performance. The study results indicated that the behavior-modeling training method yielded consistently superior performance and higher computer self-efficacy. The significant two-way interaction confirmed the importance of person–situation adaptation. In addition, the adaptation is task dependent. Findings of the study contribute to an expanded understanding of the factors that influence learning performance and self-efficacy and also have important implications for the management of information systems. Future research directions conclude the paper.
Article
Two studies investigated the validity of computer self-efficacy and computer anxiety scales when administered to an Internet sample. In the first study, it was found that existing measures of computer self-efficacy and anxiety, originally developed through paper-and-pencil methods with more traditional samples, were not adequately equivalent when administered to a sample that was recruited and tested via the Internet. In the second study, the existing measures were adapted, and new items were developed to create new measures of computer self-efficacy and anxiety. The relationship of these new measures to computer and Internet use behaviors provided evidence for validity. Confidence and aversion were related to computer and Internet use suggesting that these new measures are adequate for capturing confidence and aversion towards computers when administered to an Internet sample.
Article
Information system researchers have recently devoted considerable attention to the concept of computer self-efficacy in order to understand computer user behavior and system use. This article reports on the development and examination of a contingency model of computer and Internet self-efficacy. User attitude and computer anxiety were assumed to influence the development of computer and Internet self-efficacy. Measures of user attitude, computer anxiety, computer self-efficacy, and Internet self-efficacy were used in a university environment to collect 347 responses at both the beginning and end of an introductory computer course. Results suggested that training significantly improved computer and Internet self-efficacy. Respondents with ‘favorable’ attitudes toward computers improved their self-efficacy significantly more than respondents with ‘unfavorable’ attitudes. Respondents with ‘low’ computer anxiety improved their self-efficacy significantly more than respondents with ‘high’ computer anxiety. The interaction effect between attitude and anxiety was significant for computer self-efficacy scores but not for Internet self-efficacy scores. The implications of these findings are discussed.
Conference Paper
This paper describes a series of interviews that focus on the ways that professional office workers use electronic mail to manage their daily work. A number of implications for the design of flexible mail systems are discussed. Two principal claims are made. First, electronic mail is more than just a communication system. In addition to supporting information management, it provides a mechanism for supporting a variety of time management and task management activities. Some people are prioritizers, concentrating on the problem of managing incoming messages. Others are archivers, concentrating on how to archive information for subsequent use. Similarly, some people use mail to delegate tasks, while others perform tasks delegated to them by others electronically. The second claim is that use of electronic mail is strikingly diverse, although not infinitely so. Individuals vary in their preferences, both in their general willingness to manage their work electronically and in their specific preferences along the dimensions described above. This diversity implies that one's own experiences with electronic mail are unlikely to provide sufficient understanding of other's uses of mail. Mail designers should thus seek flexible primitives that capture the important dimensions and provide flexibility for a wide range of users.
Article
In this study, 308 small business executives were interviewed and asked to identify the single most important thing they had learned about managing the use of information technology (IT) in their firms. The most common response was staying current/keeping up with changing IT. The training/education of end users, the ability to get information quickly, and accurate data were also given as things the executives had learned. The small business executives interviewed were from a variety of industries including the computer industry, the health care industry, engineering, consulting, manufacturing, insurance, accounting, and law. Ninety-two percent of the executives had acquired new hardware and 89.9% had acquired new software for their firms since their firms had first started using computers. In approximately 90% of the firms, the number of users of computers had increased and the majority of the new users were classified as both managerial and clerical. Again, approximately 90% of the firms had increased the number of functions for which computers were used within their firms with applications in accounting having the greatest increase.
Article
This paper describes a series of interviews that examine the ways that professional office workers use electronic mail to manage their daily work. The purpose is to generate hypotheses for future research. A number of implications for the design of flexible mail systems are discussed. Two principal claims are made. First, the use of electronic mail is strikingly diverse, although not infinitely so. Individuals vary both in objective measures of mail use and in preferred strategies for managing work electronically. Feelings of control are similarly diverse and are related to the size of the user's inbox, numbers of folders, and subscriptions to distribution lists. This diversity implies that one's own experiences with electronic mail are unlikely to provide sufficient understanding of other's uses of mail. Mail designers should thus seek flexible primitives that capture the important dimensions of use and provide flexibility for a wide range of users. The second claim is that electronic mail is more than just a communication system. Users archive messages for subject retrieval, prioritize messages to sequence work activities, and delegate tasks via mail. A taxonomy of work management is proposed in which mail is used for information management, time management, and task management activities. Directions for future research are suggested.
Article
Overwhelmed by the organizational imperative to collect every kind of information available, and finding technical solutions generally miss the point, knowledge workers need to improve their personal capacity for inquiry.
Article
Unified Activity Management (UAM) provides support to people in e-business organizations. All people involved in the business processes can see Avtivity descriptions and they can modify and extend the descriptions. The main objectives of the shared Activity representation are to organize work around activities instead of tools and artifacts and to provide a singleplace for people to manage the whole range of their activities. It also helps capture, reuse, and evolve best practices in activity pattern, and integrates informal business activities and workflow-driven business processes. The Seamantic Web is an ideal platform to provide the flexibility, extensibility, and data integration necessary to support the inherent viability and adaptability of business activities. The default mode of UAM is to support flexible and open interactions between people.
Article
This paper discusses the role of individuals' beliefs about their abilities to competently use computers (computer self-efficacy) in the determination of computer use. A survey of Canadian managers and professionals was conducted to develop and validate a measure of computer self-efficacy and to assess both its impacts and antecedents. Computer self- efficacy was found to exert a significant influence on individuals' expectations of the outcomes of using computers, their emotional reactions to computers (affect and anxiety), as well as their actual computer use. An individual's self-efficacy and outcome expecta- tions were found to be positively influenced by the encouragement of others in their work group, as well as others' use of computers. Thus, self-efficacy represents an important individual trait, which moderates organizational influences (such as encouragement and support) on an individual's decision to use computers. Understanding self-efficacy, then, is important to the successful implementation of systems in organizations. The existence of a reliable and valid measure of self-efficacy makes assessment possible and should have implications for organizational support, training, and implementation.
Article
Despite the recent empirical interest and advances in research with regard to the construct of computer self-efficacy (CSE), the results obtained to date have, in some cases, been either equivocal or contradictory. We suggest that such results may be attributable to a general lack of attention to the dynamic, multileveled, and multifaceted nature of the computer self-efficacy construct. We offer examples from the extant CSE literature suggesting weaknesses in existing measures of the construct as well as issues associated with manipulations and the need for control of antecedent and consequent factors directly associated with CSE. The objectives of this paper are: (1) to provide a thorough review of the extant literature related to CSE; (2) to present an integrated model of empirical findings, constructed from a wide variety of disciplines, that comprehensively defines the multifaceted nature of task-specific CSE in terms of its antecedent, consequent, and moderating factors; (3) to present a conceptual model of CSE at the general versus task-specific level; and (4) to use the two models of CSE to proffer guidelines for both measurement and manipulation of the construct. Through our review of the CSE literature, we offer several thoughts regarding the nature of the empirical results obtained to date. The combined objectives serve as a basis for establishing a foundation upon which future research investigating the CSE construct can be based.
Article
While computer training is widely recognized as an essential contributor to the productive use of computers in organizations, very little research has focused on identifying the processes through which training operates, and the relative effectiveness of different methods for such training. This research examined the training process, and compared a behavior modeling training program, based on Social Cognitive Theory (Bandura 1977, 1978, 1982, 1986), to a more traditional, lecture-based program. According to Social Cognitive Theory, watching others performing a behavior, in this case interacting with a computer system, influences the observers' perceptions of their own ability to perform the behavior, or self-efficacy, and the expected outcomes that they perceive, as well as providing strategies for effective performance. The findings provide only partial support for the research model. Self-efficacy exerted a strong influence on performance in both models. In addition, behavior modeling was found to be more effective than the traditional method for training in Lotus 1-2-3, resulting in higher self-efficacy and higher performance. For WordPerfect, however, modeling did not significantly influence performance. This finding was unexpected, and several possible explanations are explored in the discussion. Of particular surprise were the negative relationships found between outcome expectations and performance. Outcome expectations were expected to positively influence performance, but the results indicated a strong negative effect. Measurement limitations are presented as the most plausible explanation for this result, but further research is necessary to provide conclusive explanations. Copyright © 1995, Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences.