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Title: Status and culture moderate emotional and behavioural reactions to email norm violations in higher education, healthcare and international business : a cross cultural study
Author: Almaleky, Atiah
ISNI:       0000 0004 6348 5332
Awarding Body: University of Roehampton
Current Institution: University of Roehampton
Date of Award: 2017
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Background: Communication via email plays an increasingly vital role in all work settings, particularly in those which are cross-cultural and culturally diverse, where employees with different cultural backgrounds and professional status groups must interact effectively to achieve individual and organisational goals. This is particularly important in the increasingly culturally diverse organisations within the healthcare, higher education and business sectors, which necessitate cultural intelligence and competence in effective communication, especially in the essential requirement of email communication, in which reactions to email violations in different cultures can differ. Study 1 tests a conceptual model in the higher education (HE) and healthcare (HC) sectors in the UK and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), with the aim of exploring whether the cultural background and work status of both email sender and receiver have any moderation and interaction effects on the receiver's cognitive attributions, emotional and behavioural reactions to email violation caused by technical errors and etiquette violation. Study 2 tests a revised conceptual model which includes the additional moderating factors of global identity, trust, extraversion and emotional stability, applied to the international business sector in the context of work status, with regard to social identity theory and appraisal theory (concerning in-group and outgroup members). Method: Both studies employed a 2 (cultural background: same/different) x 3 (work status: high/same/low) experimental design, Study 1 in higher education (N=443) and healthcare (N=411), and Study 2 in international business (N=744), using a cross-sectional survey questionnaire containing an email violation vignette, which included technical errors and etiquette violation. Six experimental variations of this vignette were randomised to participants, to vary the email sender's cultural background and work status. Study 1 Findings: All the participants perceived email violation, with different effects recorded by those in the KSA and the UK, with the KSA participants (more collectivistic and higher power distance culture) reporting stronger negative emotional and behavioural reactions towards email violation than the UK participants. A similar culture negative bias was evident in the UK sample, increasing the effect of anger on the tendency to move against an email sender when from the same culture as the receiver, whereas the KSA participants reacted more favourably towards the same-culture sender, increasing the effect of happiness on the tendency to comply with the sender's request. When comparing country of origin and sector, there was a moderating effect of higher status negative bias in the UK HC, with a higher-status sender increasing the effect of anger on the tendency to move against the sender, but reducing its effect on the tendency to move away from the sender, whereas the sender's status did not moderate the reactions of the KSA HC sample. In addition, it was found that the effects of anger and guilt on the move against tendency were enhanced by lower-status sender (a lower-status negative bias) and reduced by higher-status sender in the KSA HE, whereas the sender's status did not moderate the reactions of the UK HE sample, in which higher levels of anger and guilt, and lower levels of s happiness, liking and positive attributions mediated the relationship between perceived violation and negative behavioural reactions. Study 2 Findings: In the international business sample, it was found that high global identity, and high dispositional and organisational trust reduced the recipients' negative emotional and behavioural reactions to email violation, suggesting that these factors have a positive impact on email communication in international business. The findings from these studies therefore show that email communication is, in fact, influenced by multiple factors affecting how the sender is perceived and how the recipient reacts. Consequently, this complexity in the dynamics of email communication highlights the need to train professionals in appropriate email etiquette across all organisational sectors, focusing on the necessity to control any negative emotional and behavioural reactions towards a perceived email violation, as this could be harmful to professional inter-group relationships and outcomes. Keywords: Cultural background, work status, email communication, email norm violation, experiment, social identity theory, self-categorisation, in-group, outgroup, SIDE model, appraisal theory, attributions, dispositional trust, organisational trust emotional reactions, behavioural reactions, emotional stability, extraversion, global identity, local identity.
Supervisor: Bray, Diane ; Eysenck, Michael Sponsor: Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia ; Cultural Bureau in London
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available