Looking to the Future

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Being both explanatory and exploratory in nature, this research generated

intriguing hints of research questions that were beyond the scope of this current

work.

• Further consideration of the message web concept to investigate whether

it continues to be a useful framework upon which explanations about what

is going on in organisations with CMC technologies can be constructed.

• A more intense exploration of the email strategies that staff (at all levels)

use in seeking to influence (and manipulate) others and the subsequent

behaviours that these strategies evoke (for instance, Vince’s belief that the

format of his message suggested the method to be used in responding to

a specific situation).

• Ongoing investigation into ways to manage better the distribution of

information electronically through an organisation’s message web.

As new technologies enter human society, we build up common responses over

time regarding the place such technologies occupy in our lives. In a collective

sense, we construct this habitat and this is what I believe was happening at

Station 99. However, our ability (as a society) to enter into this debate

regarding email’s place in our lives progressively diminishes over time until it

disappears entirely, At which point email will have moved away from being a

new technology and its role or place will have become taken for granted. This

taken for grantedness will evolve from, and be shaped by, the more dominant

view of what email actually is. And it is probable that this will shape and to some

extent fix, the standard or common view of what is accepted and what is

acceptable about email in the future.

My discovery of the current state of flux and fluidity at Station 99 in regard to

their thinking about email’s place and its acceptability or otherwise was a major

finding of this research. Accordingly, further exploration of the ways that

people construct criteria or standards of acceptability versus non-acceptability

in regard to email would appear to be a valuable exercise to both the academic

population and the more widespread general public community including

managers and others in organisations. Such a reflection on what is currently

happening will ensure that, although specific ways of thinking about email will

be endorsed as the dominant frame at some point in the future, alternatives will

not disappear without extensive discussion now. As message webs within

organisations grow in importance, effective management will require strategies

to be in place to respond to the dynamic demands of the Interaction Age.

In finishing this chapter, you may now be interested in reading the final

two journal extracts about the completion of the initial draft, my interaction

with the book editor and my response to the comments I received from

the two anonymous peer reviewers.3, 4