30 Years on – What Has Changed in Office Communication?

6 Pages Posted: 20 May 2020 Last revised: 22 May 2020

See all articles by Paul Wilson

Paul Wilson

Loughborough University

Thomas Jackson

Loughborough University

Date Written: April 24, 2020


In the rich information society that we live in, individuals deal with large numbers of emails, tweets, pictures and videos on a daily basis as a matter of course. Information overload is commonplace even while new technologies continue to emerge and place more demands on the individual. Yet this is hugely different from the situation before the arrival of the PC in the late 1970s. As time goes by, it becomes harder to gain a perspective on the enormous changes that have occurred – not least because of a lack of data of how it was back then. This research note unearths some previously unpublished data about an individual’s communication patterns in 1981 and compares it to the same individual’s communications exactly 30 years later. Because the data was collected in the same way and for the same period at both points, it is possible to make some direct comparisons of communications types, loads and work style in the two different eras. The data and work experiences reported for this one individual provide an indication of the huge changes that have occurred in written communications. However, they also raise questions as to whether employees can cope with the new technology deluge and whether they are being given adequate support to do so.

Keywords: Communication styles, email communication, volume of information, information management

Suggested Citation

Wilson, Paul and Jackson, Thomas, 30 Years on – What Has Changed in Office Communication? (April 24, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3584149 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3584149

Paul Wilson

Loughborough University ( email )

Ashby Road
Nottingham NG1 4BU
Great Britain

HOME PAGE: http://pwofc.com

Thomas Jackson (Contact Author)

Loughborough University ( email )

Ashby Road
Loughborough, Leicestershire LE11 3TU
Great Britain

HOME PAGE: http://profjackson.com/wp/about-me/

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