Am I just a CC for you?
Is always sending e-mails an innocent action aimed at providing and exchanging information among co-workers? Answers to that question have recently been published in interesting study by Karianne Skovholt, who is a PhD scholarship holder at BI Norwegian School of Management. She affirms in her conclusions that under cover of simply wishing to provide information, employees can obtain support and exert pressure on the primary recipient.
“Employees can use an email’s cc function to position themselves in the organizational hierarchy under cover of simply wanting to provide information.”
Karianne performed her research by gathering more than 700 mails collected from an international company based in Norway. What was discovered is that the workers “rank” recipients, depending on how positively they think about them before sending the message. If they considered them as 'less relevance', they are copied as CC instead of in the “To” main field. This would follow the basic rules of a normal conversation in real life, where you have the speaker, the person who is addressed to participate directly, the participants and the listeners who do not take direct part in the discussion. People follow the same patterns when communicating in the cyberspace.
Next time you receive a general copied mail at your office, pay attention if you appear as CC or not. It can give a good idea about how the sender takes you into consideration.