A Comparative Evaluation of the Utility of Electronic and Voice Mail for Organizational Communication


Information & Management

January 1993, vol. 24, n°1, pp.9-21

Departments: Information Systems and Operations Management, GREGHEC (CNRS)

Communication in scheduled and unscheduled meetings, over the telephone and in face-to-face encounters consumes the majority of a manager's time. By some estimates, up to 85% of a manager's time is involved with various forms of communication. It comes as no surprise, therefore, that many organizations see the enhancement of managerial communication as a potentially high leverage application. This paper reports on the results of an exploratory study that compares two of the most prevalent communication technologies: Voice and electronic mail. Based on the findings of a questionnaire completed by 68 users of both voice mail and electronic mail from 12 organizations, cross-media comparisons are made with respect to scope of communication, patterns of communication, communication tasks and message content. The findings indicate that E-mail is viewed as a medium that has a significant impact on how individuals communicate in an organization. By contrast, V-mail is viewed as only a supplement to the telephone and has minimal perceived impact on intra-organizational communication