BAM 2009 Mobile Email Use

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BAM 2009 Presentation: Formulating a research agenda for understanding mobile email use

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BAM 2009 Mobile Email Use

  1. 1. Formulating a Research Agenda for Understanding Mobile Email Use Gillian Symon, University of London and Katrina Pritchard, London School of Economics Acknowledgement: This work is supported by a grant from the British Academy (no. SG-54143)
  2. 2. Introduction <ul><li>Why focus on mobile email? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>cf mobile phones? Instant messaging? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>different uses and different background lit </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>the ‘Blackberry’ specifically </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Outlining a research agenda </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Raising interest in analysing the use of these technologies in organizations </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Illustrated through our own current research in engineering firm </li></ul>
  3. 3. Objectives for this Session <ul><li>Feedback from colleagues on ideas: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Potential explanatory theories </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Other methodological issues </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Other (related) research in this area </li></ul><ul><li>Other experiences and insights into these processes, including other organizations use of BBs </li></ul>
  4. 4. Current Research on Mobile Devices (Blackberries) <ul><li>Mainly exploring: </li></ul><ul><li>Work-Life Balance </li></ul><ul><ul><li>PDAs help achieve desired balance (Golden & Giesler, 2007) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Mobile devices allow for work extension (Towers et al, 2006) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Workload Management </li></ul><ul><ul><li>BBs help spread workload (Allen & Shoard, 2005) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>BBs give short-term gains, long-term problems (Mazmanian et al, 2006) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Conclusion: Use of mobile devices ‘paradoxical’ (Jarvenpaa & Lang, 2005) </li></ul>
  5. 5. Methodological Issues <ul><li>For example: </li></ul><ul><li>Differentiating between technologies </li></ul><ul><li>Conducting comparative studies (see Mazmanian, 2009) </li></ul><ul><li>Observing actual mobile email use </li></ul>
  6. 6. Current Study <ul><li>Large UK-based Engineering Company </li></ul><ul><li>Widespread use of Blackberries across different levels of organization </li></ul><ul><li>Sample includes both operational and managerial staff supported for both mobile and flexible work </li></ul><ul><li>40 interviews (27 conducted) with BB ‘present’ </li></ul>
  7. 7. Emergent Issues: Differences between Groups? <ul><li>cf Mazmanian (2009): different professional identities and BB use </li></ul><ul><li>Our context: different reasons for issue, different locations, different levels, different staff backgrounds </li></ul><ul><li>Early days and have not made specific comparisons as yet but: </li></ul><ul><li>All claim need to be mobile even if office-based </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A ‘meeting’ and a ‘24/7’ culture </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Past shift work justifies extended day for operational managers? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Most mobile make least use of BB as communication tool? </li></ul><ul><li>Differences in experience of the tool are likely to be between levels </li></ul>
  8. 8. Emergent issues: Communication and Information I <ul><li>Facilitating immediate communication </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Data Removed from this version </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Defining urgent/important </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Data Removed from this version </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. Emergent issues: Communication and Information II <ul><li>Obfuscating communication </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Data Removed from this version </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. Emergent Issues: Working relationships I <ul><li>‘ Absent Presence’ </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Data Removed from this version </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Always Present </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Data Removed from this version </li></ul></ul>
  11. 11. Emergent Issues: Working relationships II <ul><li>Managing through the Blackberry </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ just letting people know that I’m concerned about them and I’m thinking about them sort of thing you know. So I tended to do a lot of that stuff as well and it wasn’t necessarily worth a phone call but it’s a quick text, you know, “how was the party Friday” sort of thing and they just know that you were thinking about them sort of thing, you see”. (Technical Specialist) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Role modelling through the Blackberry </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ ..my guys get an awful lot of e-mails from me saying “can you pick this up tomorrow please”…..the first time they ever reply of an evening when I’ve sent them an e-mail in the evening…..I suppose almost two-faced because I’ll say “why are you replying?”, “well why are you e-mailing me?”. Because I’m choosing actively to spend half an hour while Emmerdale’s on just going through some e-mails that are left in my Blackberry so I want in my head to be clear and sorted, I don’t expect you - and don’t want you - to be replying”. (Manager) </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. Emergent Issues: Employment Relationship <ul><li>Managing the Employee </li></ul><ul><ul><li>I think people are less patient, if it’s an urgent response there’s very few managers higher up that will accept the fact that you’re in a meeting for you not responding…. If they send you a request urgently you can sit and do it silently in the meeting. So I think there’s less tolerance for timescales. [Operations Manager] </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Managing the Manager </li></ul><ul><ul><li>I’ll have a look at it, a couple of e-mails will come in overnight maybe “anything urgent - no” right I’ll get up, have some breakfast, clean my teeth, go in the shower, then on the way to work I’ll look at those things. But if my boss had e-mailed me I’d be like “oh what does he want” I’d look at that straightaway to see if it was anything urgent, and if it was I’d just reply there and then. [Technical Specialist] </li></ul></ul>
  13. 13. Conclusion (so far!) <ul><li>Emerging Issues: </li></ul><ul><li>Effect on ability/motivation to prioritise communication </li></ul><ul><li>Mediation of the relationship between managers and staff through the Blackberry </li></ul><ul><li>Differentiating between technologies? - ‘Unified communications’ </li></ul>

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