The office tyrant ‐ social control through e‐mail

The office tyrant ‐ social control through e‐mail The changing role of technology in the virtual workplace has been accompanied by a proliferation of research activity focusing initially on the technical aspects and, more recently, on the social and political aspects of the diffusion process, including power and politics. This paper builds on the work of Kling and Markus on power and politics in IT, extending it to e‐mail and more specifically, to the use of e‐mail for petty tyranny. Reviews the literature on petty tyranny and its implications to IT and e‐mail. Presents a case study in which e‐mail was used by a department chair to manipulate, control, and coerce employees. The discussion links the events in the case with the literature on petty tyranny. In conclusion, demonstrates that e‐mail features make it amenable to political abuse and elaborates on the more general, theoretical, practical and ethical implications from this research. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Information Technology & People Emerald Publishing

The office tyrant ‐ social control through e‐mail

Information Technology & People, Volume 12 (1): 17 – Mar 1, 1999

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © 1999 MCB UP Ltd. All rights reserved.
ISSN
0959-3845
DOI
10.1108/09593849910250510
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

The changing role of technology in the virtual workplace has been accompanied by a proliferation of research activity focusing initially on the technical aspects and, more recently, on the social and political aspects of the diffusion process, including power and politics. This paper builds on the work of Kling and Markus on power and politics in IT, extending it to e‐mail and more specifically, to the use of e‐mail for petty tyranny. Reviews the literature on petty tyranny and its implications to IT and e‐mail. Presents a case study in which e‐mail was used by a department chair to manipulate, control, and coerce employees. The discussion links the events in the case with the literature on petty tyranny. In conclusion, demonstrates that e‐mail features make it amenable to political abuse and elaborates on the more general, theoretical, practical and ethical implications from this research.

Journal

Information Technology & PeopleEmerald Publishing

Published: Mar 1, 1999

Keywords: Case studies; Control; Electronic mail; Management

References

  • Petty tyranny in organizations
    Ashforth, B.E.
  • Automated welfare client tracking and service integration: the political economy of computing
    Kling, R.

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