Essay: E-Mail in Business Communication

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[. . .] In this context, the telephone provides the same advantage but is very costly over a long distance. Secondly, email increases efficiency in business communication, and reduces telephone tag. Email reduces the unnecessary telephone interruptions created by delivery of messages across long distances (Dufrene & Lehman, 2010). Hughes, Stolley, and Driscoll (2007) also find that emails reduce the cost of communication especially over long distances as compared to telephone or postal mail. In addition, emails reduce administrative costs for they eliminate paper waste since they do not need printed copies.

Impact of Email to Business Communication

The corporate manager is left managing a geographically diverse workplace due to internalization, globalization, and outsourcing. This leaves managers and teams to use instantaneous and synchronous communication methods mainly over the internet like email, video conferencing, CMC and ETC. These methods are preferred over telephone conversation due to their clarity and cost effectiveness. However, despite the benefits studies show there are intrinsic problems with using email communication. Email communication is identified as causing privacy issues, does not provide emotion and tone, and is easily ignored or deleted by recipient (Lesikar, Flatley & Rentz, 2008). Kruger, Epley, and Parker (2005) find that the tone of email exchanges is a challenge since recipients barely interpret emails correctly often about 50% of the time. This leads to misunderstandings, mistrust, ill will, and disconnectedness.

This if not managed or mitigated, has a negative impact on businesses, business relationships, and productivity. Therefore, there is need for tools and techniques to compensate for the absence of voices and faces in email communication, to gain an understanding of the social norms in communication. The problem of email communication unlike conventional business communication tools is the lack of social cues and norms that reduce conflict and support cognitive communication effort (Ferari, 2007). Enemark (2006) identifies that in business communication there is a need to build relationship and trust through active listening, verbal and non-verbal communication signals, use of social cues like eye contact, suitable facial expressions, and open posture. Effective business communication also calls for verbal prompts, encouraging gestures, and listening, which are present in synchronous interactions yet lack in asynchronous interactions like emails. The inability of the email to create interpersonal rapport makes business relationships fragile, especially during a conflict.

Emails lack business communication language and presentation from the multitude of visual cues offered by software. Many creators of emails are not aware of these visual cues, nor are they aware of the recipient have compatible software to support visual cues in messages. According to Madhukant (2009), visual cues like margin changes, bolding, coloring, fonts types are present in each email, yet few email creators use them. In addition, if they exist in an email they are interpreted as gibberish by the receiver's computer. This is because email programs support basic ASCII code rather than the new and extended special character sets (Ferari, 2007). While these add finesse to the message, they also transgress basic business communication standards. Business communication requires messages to have on point, plain and formal presentation without flowery language or presentation.

According to Barrett and Davidson (2006), emails cannot support the socio-emotional component of business communication as seen with traditional face-to-face modes of communication. This creates a disconnection between mailing individuals as identities disappear. Email removes all social cues allowing for more efficient, shorter, and efficient communication in individuals with affect-limitation (Barrett & Davidson, 2006). Email becomes a problem to effective business communication due to the asocial communication displayed in electronic mail. According to Barrett and Davidson (2006), people are used to using CAPITALS to signify shouting, informal communication symbols like for a smile,; -) to indicate a wink, with little attempt to insert the correct English oral in an affect-limited medium. The icons are referred to emoticons, and a widely accepted in electronic mail conservations (Barrett & Davidson, 2006). However, emoticons are not part of traditional business communication, and sending an email with emoticons indicates the lack of business etiquette. According to Lindsell-Roberts & Settle-Murphy (2007), a receiver who is not familiar with the meaning of different symbols can misinterpret emoticons. For example using X to guarantee nondisclosure to the recipient may be misinterpreted as a big wet kiss.

A second comparison between email and correct business communication are the subject lines. Many email messages do not have subject lines or are uninformative making it difficult for the reader to detect the goal of the email before opening the mail (Madhukant, 2009). In business communication, the subject line gives the focus and intention of the email from the sender to the reader. It sets the tone of the message, and allows the reader to define the message content prior to opening. The subject line is meant as an eye catcher and attention creator for the message (Lindsell-Roberts & Settle-Murphy, 2007). Therefore, the lack of or uninformative subject line drivers may recipients from emails in their inbox. A written business communication is expected to have concise and informative subject line to highlight the aim of the message.

According to Lindsell-Roberts & Settle-Murphy (2007, emails also tend to have weak structures and organization as compared to standard business communication messages. Email messages have a proliferation of dashed out notes, which is the result early email users habit, which continue to this day. Most email messages have weak structure and organization following the practice of writing messages in an informal style. This leads to many emails in business communication as render ineffective, while lacking follow up for response and clarification (Kruger, Epley, & Parker, 2005). Business communication requires messages to have structure and organization, where ideas and points flow in an orderly and logical manner. This also implies the use of correct business language, which is focused, precise, and correct English grammar (Lesikar, Flatley, & Rentz, 2008). In addition, emails fail as effective business communication tools for they tend to have too much information. Traditional business communication requires messages to be concise and to the point avoid unnecessary explanations (Mudhukant, 2009). Most email users lack the ability to focus messages, while delegating most of the information in form of attachments. In business communication, the letter or business mail gives concise information that is informative and representative of the different attachments and files sent between correspondents. A long and lengthy email intimidates the receiver and less user-friendly leading to misinterpretation and ignorance.

An exploration of literature indicates that the difficulty of comprehending business emails is the different approaches of individuals to emails as compared to business letters with given templates. Business letters have basic formatting rules, which are widely accepted and applied in business communication. According to Madhukant (2009), heterogeneity among email users arises from the different uses of CAPS. In email messages, different users use ALL CAPS, or no capitalization even in first word of sentences or nouns. Studies associate this oversight of Basic English language writing, as the lack of basic knowledge of keyboard and typing skills who try to conceal their poor grammar skills (Lindsell-Roberts & Settle-Murphy, 2007). This makes emails sloppy business communication tools, from the sloppy errors, oversights, and ignorance of basic rules. A common cause of sloppy messaging in emails is the use of editing and posting functions like COPY, PASTE, and CUT functions that reduce typing time but increase error rates.

According to Wallace (2004), business letters are expected to have a letterhead at the top, a date, and an address. The addresses also have a given format, beginning with the recipient's name with their official title. In a business communication, the expectation is line spacing is provided, with salutations following benefit the address. The salutations begin with Dear and the recipient's first name or their title and first name (Wallace, 2004). Moreover, in business communication the norm is to use "Ms." In the salutation rather than "Mrs." Or "Miss." The letter body is very concise, short, well structured, and formal language. In the closing remarks, business communication often uses remarks like "cordially," "regards," or "sincerely." A space follows this, then the signature of the sender, the sender's typed name in the next line, and their title. The business letter is accompanied by the disclosure of copies or enclosures sent to other parties. This is similar for business memos, but memos have an opening line indicated by "Date:," "To:," "From:," and "Subject:" indications (Wallace, 2004). These aspects are not part of most of the email communication occurring in businesses.

The appearance of a lack of business etiquette in emails is the lack of standardization in email formats in organizations. Most email messages begin with different salutations unlike the business letter. Salutations comprise of "Hello again," "Hi there!" "Hi from Pete," "David," "Hi David," "Good morning David," "Howdy David," "Dear David Crystal," "Annwyl David Crystal," "Dear Professor Crystal," or "Estimado Professor Crystal" (Wallace, 2004). The use of "Annwyl" represents a Welsh replacement for Dear. There are different variations of salutations in email messages, which deviate from the business… [END OF PREVIEW]

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E-Mail in Business Communication.  (2013, March 18).  Retrieved May 26, 2019, from

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"E-Mail in Business Communication."  18 March 2013.  Web.  26 May 2019. <>.

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"E-Mail in Business Communication."  March 18, 2013.  Accessed May 26, 2019.