A29. Rice, R.E., Hughes, D. & Love, G. (1989). Usage and outcomes of electronic messaging at an R&D organization: Situational constraints, job level, and media awareness. Office: Technology and People, 5(2), 141-161.


This paper is an individual-level analysis of the adoption and use of an electronic messaging system (EMS) by nearly 500 members of an R&D organization. It complements the network-level analysis reported by Eveland and Bikson in 1988 and the qualitative analysis reported by Markus in 1987. The present paper develops and tests hypotheses about relationships among job categories, perceived social presence of an electronic messaging system (a measure of media awareness), self-reported and computer-monitored use of the system, and outcomes such as changes in work effectiveness, communication flows, and use of extant media. The primary conditions associated with non-adoption of electronic mail were physical proximity of a respondent's contacts and lack of accessibility to needed contacts through the system. Higher-level organizational members used the system more, and reported more improvements in outcomes, counter to predictions by information richness theory. Usage was weakly correlated with outcomes, but was generally more strongly correlated for those respondents who were more aware of the appropriateness of the EMS for a variety of communication activities. The paper ends by discussing the lessons learned about the adoption and outcomes of an EMS this one organization, based on three studies with very different methods and perspectives.

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