A47. Rice, R.E. (1994). Relating electronic mail use and network structure to R&D work networks and performance. Journal of Management Information Systems, 11(1), 9-20.

This study analyzes computer-monitored and self-reported electronic mail usage and network data collected over time from mentors and their summer interns at an R&D organization. Amount and network measures of E-mail usage were significantly associated with work and work familiarity networks. As time passed, interns communicated through E-mail more outside their formal mentor-intern relations. However amount of E-mail use and most E-mail network measures (such as centrality) were not related to mentors’ assessments of interns’ performance several months later. An intriguing exception was how interns were located in the overall E-mail network. Surprisingly, overall, most forms of communication were negatively associated with performance ratings. These results imply that it is not necessarily how much one uses an e-mail system, but how the users are positioned in that system’s structural context, that may affect R&D performance.

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