Chapter 21: The challenge of organizational bulk email systems: Model and empirical studies
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Large organizations use bulk email to communicate with employees about events, policies, organizational updates, and other information they feel will be useful or interesting to the employees. Such an organizational system has many stakeholders including information producers (often organizational leaders), communications professionals, recipients (employees), and management. We find this system to be inefficient - sending messages broadly appears free to senders, but shifts costs to recipients and their managers. But careful targeting is viewed as expensive by senders, as the cost is incurred locally. As a result, employees often waste time reviewing poorly targeted messages. This chapter proposes an economic model to describe a multi-stakeholder organizational communications system based on bulk email. In addition to highlighting the various costs and values perceived by stakeholders, the model captures the reputation of bulk email channels. We report on a detailed study of one organization and highlight potential interventions prompted by the model.

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