This study investigates the e-mail usage behavior of knowledge workers through an in-depth literature review and a focus group discussion. It finds that people are ruled by e-mail, but think otherwise. In daily usage, many of the weaknesses of e-mail are converted into strengths, and having an information system background does not necessarily lead to sophistication in using e-mail tools. Further, users regard e-mail as a print medium rather than an interactive medium, and it has to a great extent replaced face-to-face communication in the workplace. E-mail users use the medium's carbon copy and forwarding features habitually and not out of necessity, and they do not usually handle work-related and personal e-mail messages separately. Finally, users seek opportunities to learn about e-mail functionality out of convenience, but these are not attained with ease. A contrast between these findings and conventional wisdom is drawn.
Journal of Computer Information Systems,50(1),65-73