Managing the constant flow of incoming messages is a daily challenge faced by knowledge workers who use technologies such as e-mail and other digital communication tools. This study focuses on the most ubiquitous of these technologies, e-mail, and unobtrusively explores the ongoing inbox-management activities of thousands of users worldwide over a period of 8 months. (more…)
E-mail is one of the most successful computer applications ever developed. Despite its success, it is now dogged by numerous problems. Users complain about feeling overwhelmed by the volume of messages they receive, they have difficulties too in organizing and managing their e-mail data but, most importantly, they have problems in using e-mail to manage collaborative tasks. These require extended interaction with others for their definition and execution. As a result, users are often concurrently working on multiple outstanding tasks as they await responses from others concerning these tasks. This requires users to (a) create reminders, (b) identify messages that relate to the same task, and (c) combine information from these related messages. (more…)
Input Information Complexity, Perceived Time Pressure, and Information Processing in GSS-based Work Groups: An Experimental Investigation Using a Decision Schema to Alleviate Information Overload Conditions
Collaboration technology enhances the ability of work groups to acquire and share large volumes of information within a short period. The processing of voluminous information is challenging and may lead to conditions of information overload. The issue of complexity of information processing in collaboration technology supported group work, and the mechanisms to overcome the information overload conditions have not received sufficient attention in the past. In this paper, we attempt to address this gap by building a theoretical model and validating it through a laboratory experiment. (more…)
Some very fascinating findings regarding the optimum frequencies at which to check email.
Email consumes as much as a quarter of knowledge workers’ time in organizations today. Almost a necessity for communication, email does interrupt a worker’s other main tasks and ultimately leads to information overload. Though issues such as spam, email filtering and archiving have received much attention from industry and academia, the critical problem of the timing of email processing has not been studied much. It is common for many knowledge workers to check and respond to their email almost continuously. (more…)
With the proliferation and ubiquity of information and communication technologies (ICTs), it is becoming imperative for individuals to constantly engage with these technologies in order to get work accomplished. Academic literature, popular press, and anecdotal evidence suggest that ICTs are responsible for increased stress levels in individuals (known as technostress). However, despite the influence of stress on health costs and productivity, it is not very clear which characteristics of ICTs create stress. (more…)
A panel session on e-mail management was organized at ICIS 2005 in Las Vegas, Nev. The panelists provided perspectives from industry as well as academia and discussed various problems in e-mail management, research methodologies to address these problems, various research opportunities, and an integrative framework for research on e-mail management. This paper succinctly summarizes the presentations made by the panelists during the session and issues raised by the audience. A rich bibliography and Web links are provided at the end for researchers interested in this area of research.
The research program at IBM’s® Collaborative User Experience (CUE) group supports an e-mail system used by millions of people. We present three lessons learned from working with real-world enterprise e-mail solutions. (more…)
Library and Information Science work has often focused on the study of solutions to the effects of information overload. For this reason, and because the concept is frequently identified as a problem in popular culture, it is logical to assume that the existence and description of information overload has been documented through rigorous investigation. Such is not the case. This article looks at the functions of myth and brings together ideas about the information society, information, and information overload to conclude that information overload is a myth of modern culture. (more…)