We all deal with it today, at least all of us still employed in our positions as middle or upper management – emails. But I wondered if there are differences, even in the same industries, at the actual amount of messages respective positions receive. And if there are – I am pretty sure answer to that question is a big bold yes – then what causes it? I came up with an answer, a theory if you will, which I didn’t yet talk through with Dr. Google. Namely, I think – wrong, I am convinced – that the more mediocrity among your co-workers, the more emails people working in the same company will receive (and send).
Why? Because of CMA syndrome or KHA syndrome, which translate to Cover My Ass and Kiss His Ass.
CMA applies if you send an email after you actually spoke to someone personally or over the phone and you feel that you have to send a summary of that conversation. Would you need to do it if there was no risk of your co-worker backing off on what was discussed and decided? If such risk is great, you got yourself a mediocre man/woman. The more of them, the more confirmation emails fly around. Here of course we need to discount reports or stenography of certain meetings, usually where there are more people involved – I am disregarding those, as in such cases it is more difficult to back off since there were witnesses present, possibly with higher pay grade.
KHA applies where lazy manager or top person starts to send “thank you”, “well done” or such emails. You of course feel you need to do as she does, in order to KHA. Evidently such practice is wrong – if you do your job, no thanks is necessary as you get your paycheck. If you did an extraordinary job, personal thank you is in order. Outstanding achievement may require public mentioning of your name. Same applies in the other direction – major fuck up does require a personal meeting (although here I must admit that this happens more often, maybe because no one wants to be caught writing “you fucked up big time” to a co-worker). Result of those short “ack” messages is additional email traffic of course.
To add to the pool, there are baby messages (otherwise called hold-my-hand mama messages), spam (of make my whatever bigger sort), party pictures or jokes. But I will bet an egg against bird shit that amount of those is also higher in companies with mediocre staff (even if simply because your mediocre IT cannot set up proper spam filter).
Now, to all of you scientists out there (and I WILL check it out with Dr. Google right after I posted it or with my friend who is better than Google as he knows EVERYTHING) – was such a research done? Can we do it? I know that KHA syndrome was confirmed, I think I read it in Harvard Business Review. But if not, or for the complete picture, I volunteer. I will count stupid messages for a month if we will collect enough participants from many companies. But hey – the results may be scary.
Roman, as for me this depends on the organisation itself, its working culture, bosses (or some top managers, including IT) and the place of the company in life cycle of the organization (according to many sources).
In the company I work in now we use skype for this sort of traffic and even there boss is strictly looking at every piece of chatter thing in commong chats – just business.
if people want to chat nobody can shut them up. they will. if they do not have enough job or actions – this may also require attention of boss.
so mediocre people existed, exist and will exist. the task of boss to filter them from jobplace as IT people filter spam.
of course, company may suffer from this filter, as mediocre people may be good professionals. may be.
In somewhat sarcastic way I was trying to point out that many of the email exchanges (even if seemingly on business) are in fact unnecessary or needed. Same may apply to Skype (as it gives impression of being free). The point lies in relation – what is truly business and needed, and what is not. More of the later, the worst the shape of the organisation. The culture shifts toward the mediocre and this may be supported by the bosses.
well, you’re right.