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When Can I Expect an Email Response? A Study of Rhythms in Email Usage

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Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht, The Netherlands


A study of email responsiveness was conducted to understand how the timing of email responses conveys important information. Interviews and observations explored users’ perceptions of how they responded to email and formed expectations of others’ responses to them. We identified ways in which users maintain and cultivate a responsiveness image for projecting expectations about their email response. We also discuss other contextual cues people use to discover email responsiveness, which include using other tools such as the calendar and phone, accounting for the amount of work time overlap available, and establishing a pacing between email correspondents. These cues help users develop a sense of when to expect a response and when breakdown has occurred, requiring further action.


Tyler, Joshua R.; Tang, John C. (2003): When Can I Expect an Email Response? A Study of Rhythms in Email Usage. ECSCW 2003: Proceedings of the Eighth European Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work. DOI: 10.1007/978-94-010-0068-0_13. Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht, The Netherlands. ISBN: 978-94-010-0068-0. pp. 239-258. Full Papers. Helsinki, Finland. 14–18 September 2003