Christoph H. Loch, Joshua R. Tyler, and Rajan Lukose
Information Dynamics Laboratory, HP Labs
Draft, submitted to Organization Science.
We examine email conversations in relation to human speech patterns. Our study
makes two contributions. We offer the first (to our knowledge) quantitative
model of conversation patterns. By parameterizing the model with an egalitarian
bias parameter, we are able to explain a substantial part of the conversation
structure both for email and face-to-face conversations. Second, we make
observations that are relevant for the use of email in organizations: while
email can be used as a "megaphone" to broadcast information, we find
that it does not support larger interactive conversations than human speech.
However, we also find that participation in email conversations is more
egalitarian than in face-to-face conversations.
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