Systèmes d'Information et Management


This paper aims to improve our understanding of the outcomes of e-mail use with hierarchy. We thus adopted a dual approach: after a first series of interviews, we conducted a multi-sites case study. We demonstrated the extended use of e-mail which is perceived as a management tool. Electronic visibility is, however, subject to some limits that we identified. The analysis of e-mail use in three different contexts shows contradictory results. Depending on the context, e-mail use can contribute to the reinforcement of the hierarchy, the empowerment of subordinates and finally no change is perceived regarding the role of hierarchy. E-mail use is however not neutral in this case. Differences of interpretations are explained by hierarchy sense giving of media use as well as its role in changing and reinforcing norms of communication.