E-mail as a source of conflict

I’ve written before (November, 2007) about the perils of e-mail. I talked about it at the WBDC program on Managing Conflicts as a Small Business Owner earlier this month.  It struck a chord with the participants. All knew of at least one instance when e-mail had made mischief, whether intentionally or unintentionally. Part of the problem was the words used and the emotions that were then attributed to the author, correctly or not. Another issue is the way it can be transmitted: reply to one or reply to all? One person described how a group that needed to work together and used e-mail a good bit was plagued by one in the group who did not abide by their rule to send all messages to all involved.

Talking behind the backs of some and trying to create coalitions and divisions is hardly unique to e-mail communications.  With the added dangers of e-mail, this situation was just that much more dangerous. The solution the recipient chose was to forward e-mails sent to one to all the others. That method at least tamped down on of the potential sources of conflict.

Posted in Basics of Mediation and Conflict, Thursday, February 26th, 2009

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