Email suppresses workplace conflict

Email is suppressing conflict in the workplace, says a Victoria University lecturer.

Email is suppressing conflict in the workplace, says a Victoria University lecturer.

Derek Wallace says in one case, a worker communicates with her manager by email to avoid coping with “the boss's body language”.

By avoiding the "physical brunt of these relations", both sides can tolerate underlying tensions and communicate over them.

"It may enable the organisation's work to continue in the face of inevitable conflicts," he says.

However, his Language at Workplace project also reveals a downside.

Email may prevent the formation of relationships needed for interaction and innovation within the company.

And it can make it harder for employees to judge if superiors have taken notice of their input.

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