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Web Survey Bibliography

Title Private e-mail requests and the diffusion of responsibility
Source Computers in Human Behaviour, 18, 5, pp. 507 - 520
Year 2002
Database ERIC
Access date 30.07.2007

Discussion of e-mail technology and requesting information from multiple sources simultaneously focuses on an experiment demonstrating that addressing e-mails simultaneously to multiple recipients may actually reduce the number of helpful responses. Discusses diffusion of responsibility and implications for the application of social cueing theory to e-mail communication and direct marketing. (Author/LRW)

E-mail technology provides a way of requesting information or assistance from multiple sources by simultaneously addressing a letter to more than one recipient. Models of prosocial behavior taken from social psychology and economics suggest that the probability of receiving a helpful response is an inverse function of the number of simultaneous addressees. An experiment is presented which examines this prediction in the context of an e-mail request for information. The results show that there are more responses to e-mails addressed to a single recipient, that these responses are more helpful, and that they are lengthier. Response rates and measures of helpfulness were found to be independent of explicit information pertaining to the ability of other recipients to provide assistance. Implications of the results for the application of social cueing theory to e-mail communication and direct marketing are discussed.

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Year of publication2002
Bibliographic typeJournal article
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Web survey bibliography - 2002 (417)