Topic: Computer mediated communication in organizations
Assignment : Research Paper
emails would always stand second to personal interaction--- the “richest” communication medium
Ralph Waldo Emerson (2003) once said “Speech is power: speech is to persuade, to convert, to compel. It is to bring another out of his bad sense into your good sense”. Communication is the process by which information is passed from one person to another either verbally like tone, pause and pitch or non-verbally like writing, body language or pictures. Language for communication has no barrier if the expression of sensitivity in a man is predominant. Dr. Abraham Maslow classified the various human needs of which the social need expresses man’s desire to love, to be loved, belong, recognize and ‘communicate’ with other human beings (Wood et al., 2006). Communication is important for mankind. In an organization, managing the process involved in the creation of information, its’ exchange, followed by processing and recording comes under the vast empire of ‘Communication Management’. In a modern world which has turned into a global village, interaction has become possible with one of the most commonly used modes of communication- the electronic mail (email) . It is truly amazing that every 0.00000035 seconds an email is sent to some remote corner of the world(Brownlow, 2001). Email is a form of non verbal electronic communication where the computer network plays a major role. It is not only a very fast mode of communication but also is inexpensive, secure and reliable and is an effective means of communication when the people interacting are physically separated. Organizations have all their employees on electronic mail systems which facilitates really high speed information exchange(Sproull and Kiesler, 1986) and automatic documentation(Alpay, 2005). With all its’ advantages, receiving and sending emails are sadly cold and mechanical. There are still some situations where one needs the human touch. The purpose of this article is to analyze the efficacy of email as a mode of communication as against exchange of information in the conventional ‘one to one’ basis. There are spheres in my opinion where emails would fail to give the same impact as face to face interaction such as (i) relationship building, (ii) team cohesiveness and (iii)conflict resolution. In certain situations emails would also cause (iv) ambiguity which can have disastrous results if the same email is interpreted in different ways by various individuals. (i) Face to Face communication and relationship building Face to face communication goes a long way in achieving organizational goals particularly during the final stages of sealing a deal. Each query is ironed out individually and a concrete conclusion is arrived on a one to one basis. However it is pertinent to attach importance to certain aspects while negotiating with organizations in this forum. There are various other attributes of a medium of communication which aid in transferring information accurately and faster, such as voice modulation, gestures, natural language, instant feedback , to name a few. One could say that the medium would be richer if it displays more of these attributes (Sheer and Chen, 2004). Participants of a discussion should approach each other with a positive mind set, clarity of thought, appropriate language and also be sensitive to each others’ perceptions. Personal communication ensures quick conclusions as the'' feedback'' attained is immediate. One can also adjust tone, language and behavior according to the cues received (Sproull and Kiesler, 1986). Emails on the other hand are incapable of displaying such spontaneous evidences. Thus the effectiveness of the communication cannot be judged instantly. In an organization, to achieve various goals, managers either adopt the task orientated method or relationship building method. Relationship building...