This study was undertaken to investigate the use of e-mail and its implications under a telework environment for distributed software engineering. For this, the relative strength between a social influence and individual attributes in affecting tele-workers' e-mail use was studied. Management support was used as the representative social influence, and age, status, and ease of use represented individual attributes. An examination was also made on how e-mail use, individual attributes, and management support affected the perceptions of e-mail's information richness and e-mail productivity. Two different types of surveys, log sheets and perception-based self-reports, as well as interviews and e-mail correspondences composed the data sources. Three hierarchical regression models were defined and tested for the hypothesis validation. Data analysis indicated that management support was a much more powerful indicator for teleworkers' media use than individual characteristics. Furthermore, although labeled as a relatively lean medium from the media richness theory perspective, e-mail could become an effective and richer communication tool through an active social construction process of management support. Finally, the management support and perception of e-mail as a rich medium were both highly influential in creating teleworkers' positive perception on e-mail productivity. This study rendered a strong indication that effective adoption of e-mail by teleworkers as an information-rich medium could benefit distributed work and distributed organizations through enhanced work productivity.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Strategy and Management
- Electrical and Electronic Engineering