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Surinder Kahai is an Associate Professor of MIS and Fellow of the Center for Leadership Studies at the State University of New York (SUNY) at Binghamton. He has a B. Tech in Chemical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology (Bombay), an M.S. in Chemical Engineering from Rutgers University, and a Ph.D. in Business Administration from the University of Michigan. Surinder has an active research program on leadership in virtual teams, computer-mediated communication and learning, collaboration in virtual worlds, CIO leadership, and IT alignment. His research has been published in several journals including Data Base for Advances in Information Systems, Decision Sciences, Group & Organization Management, Journal of Applied Psychology, Journal of Management Information Systems, Leadership Quarterly, and Personnel Psychology. He is currently serving on the editorial boards of Group and Organization Management, IEEE-TEM, and the International Journal of e-Collaboration. He co-edited a Special Issue of Organizational Dynamics on e-leadership and a Special Issue of International Journal of e-Collaboration on Virtual Team Leadership. Surinder has won numerous awards for his teaching, including the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching. Surinder has spoken on and consulted with several organizations in the U.S. and abroad on the topics of virtual team leadership, e-business, and IS-business alignment, and IS strategy and planning

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  1. mmolligi
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    Great post Surinder,

    It’s interesting that so many of us have established expectations that an email deserves an immediate response. I personally think mobile (especially texting) have furthered these expectations.

    As two other points (separate but related) I think it’s important to add that many companies have developed a culture of email downtime to increase efficiency. Because of the easy access to emails and the little alerts that pop-up on our desktops and phones, it’s incredibly easy to break your work flow to check them.

    We’ve actually recently added this as a process in our company and while it’s take a little bit to get used to, it’s increased efficiency quite nicely (% not yet realized, but projects are getting done in a more timely manner).

    The second piece I’d like to add is just an opinion and one that I’ve instituted in my own ways of dealing with things. I try to mentally rate the importance of an email I’m sending out to establish my expectations on response.

    In other words, if it needs immediate response, I call instead of email. If it is important, but not warranting an immediate response, I add the important red exclamation to my email. All others can wait and if they are taking too long, I’ll follow-up with another email or a call.

    Again, nice post Surinder.

    -Mike

  2. Phil marsh
    Phil marsh at |

    It depends on who I sent the email to. Some people who, I have a long relationship with, habitually take long to respond and no problem. But I know they’ll respond – quickly if it’s time-sensitive.
    But if it’s a new business relationship, you have no idea what the person’s thinking and their lack of response not only tells you no, but also screams I don’t even consider you important enough to say no. Now, do you really want to do business with someone like that? Ten seconds to say hang on or no, would leave the door open for future interaction but no response, early in a relationship, is a red flag for credibility and/or integrity and this IS the message that is heard!

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