Chapter II Email: Message Transmission and Social Ritual

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Eileen Day

RMIT University, Australia and

E-Wordscapes Consulting, Australia

Abstract

In considering the implications of what it means to be moving towards an

Interaction Society, my research into intraorganisational email illuminates

some of the inherent social complexity and the subtle nuances of its use

within organisational life. A range of significant insights emerged through

a deep hermeneutic understanding of the ways that people within the

study were constructing email as an everyday part of their workplace. As

a consequence, I have constructed a new concept, message web to

encapsulate the social interaction and human sense-making activities

around email in association with its technical capabilities as daily life is

being played out within organisational cultures today. In this chapter, I

tell an ethnographic story concerning just one strand of the case study

organisation’s message web: the copying function of email. And being an

ethnographic story, I’ve also embedded reflective glimpses of my research

processes.