E-Mail Escalation: Dispute Exacerbating Elements of Electronic Communication

39 Pages Posted: 22 Mar 2002

See all articles by Ray Friedman

Ray Friedman

Vanderbilt University - Organizational Behavior

Steven C. Currall

University College London - Faculty of Engineering Sciences; London Business School

Abstract

Much has been written about the effects of electronic communication but few researchers have explored how the structural properties of e-mail impact the process of conflict management. In this paper, we examine whether the structural features of e-mail make it more likely that disputes will escalate when people communicate electronically compared to when they communicate face-to-face or via the telephone. Building upon Rubin, Pruitt, and Kim's (1994) conflict escalation model, we propose new conceptual framework that articulates: (1) the structural properties of e-mail communication, (2) the impact of these properties on conflict process effects, and (3) how process effects, in turn, set into motion the components of conflict escalation. Propositions identify the nature of relationships among process effects and conflict escalation. Our conceptual framework is designed to be the basis for future empirical research as well as a prescriptive guide regarding how one can avoid conflict escalation when communicating via e-mail.

Keywords: conflict, e-mail, escalation, CMC, computers

Suggested Citation

Friedman, Raymond A. and Currall, Steven C., E-Mail Escalation: Dispute Exacerbating Elements of Electronic Communication. IACM 15th Annual Conference. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=304966 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.304966

Raymond A. Friedman (Contact Author)

Vanderbilt University - Organizational Behavior ( email )

401 21st Avenue South
Nashville, TN 37203
United States
615-322-3992 (Phone)
615-343-7177 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://mba.vanderbilt.edu/faculty/rfriedman.cfm

Steven C. Currall

University College London - Faculty of Engineering Sciences ( email )

Gower Street
London
United Kingdom
44 0 20 7679 3205 ext. 33205 (Phone)
44 0 20 7679 3209 (Fax)

London Business School ( email )

Sussex Place
Regent's Park
London, London NW1 4SA
United Kingdom
44 0 20 7706 6851 (Phone)
44 0 20 7679 3209 (Fax)

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