Tuesday, 23 October 2007

Miscommunication with e-mails

In this article of NY Times, Daniel Goleman (author of ''Social Intelligence: The New Science of Human Relationships'') explains his point of view about e-mails.

He writes: "Still, if we rely solely on e-mail at work, the absence of a channel for the brain's emotional circuitry carries risks. In an article to be published next year in the Academy of Management Review, Kristin Byron, an assistant professor of management at Syracuse University's Whitman School of Management, finds that e-mail generally increases the likelihood of conflict and miscommunication.

One reason for this is that we tend to misinterpret positive e-mail messages as more neutral, and neutral ones as more negative, than the sender intended. Even jokes are rated as less funny by recipients than by senders."
"I asked Professor Shirky (professor in New York University's interactive telecommunications program) what all of this might imply for the multitudes of people who work with others by e-mail.

''When you communicate with a group you only know through electronic channels, it's like having functional Asperger's Syndrome -- you are very logical and rational, but emotionally brittle,'' Professor Shirky said.

''I'm part of a far-flung distributed network that at one point was designing a piece of software for sharing medical data; we worked mostly by conference calls and e-mail, and it was going nowhere. So we finally said we'd all fly to Boston and get together for two days, just sit in a room and hash it out.''

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