E-mail characteristics, work performance and distress

Rita S. Mano, Gustavo S. Mesch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The purpose of the study is to examine how e-mail affects work performance. E-mail communication studies have aroused both praise and query regarding the suitability, appropriateness and effectiveness of electronic messages in information management. Less is known about the effects of e-mail on work performance. We consider (1) which e-mail features affect work performance; (2) whether these features are differentially associated with positive (work effectiveness) or negative (stress and distress) side-effects; and (3) whether individual- and organizational-level characteristics are associated with positive and/or negative work performance. Using a secondary level analysis based on the Pew and American Life sample we show that extent, content, and increased volume of e-mail are (a) more frequently reported by managers than by non-managers (b) age, gender, marital status and education can become a critical issue (c) the amount of e-mail received and sent is positively related to work performance. These findings suggest that assessing the costs and benefits of electronic communication should cover individual features as well as e-mail-related features to assess their impact on work performance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)61-69
Number of pages9
JournalComputers in Human Behavior
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2010


  • E-mail characteristics
  • E-mail effects
  • Employees
  • Work distress
  • Work performance
  • Work stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Psychology (all)


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