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Increased E-mail Activity May Reveal a Company's Demise, Study Suggests

If you're worried that your employer might be going belly up, check your e-mail. According to a report from New Scientist, companies facing economic struggles experience a boom in e-mail frequency about a month before they close up shop, a new study done at the Florida Institute of Technology claims.

Researchers Ben Collingsworth and Ronaldo Menezes studied e-mail logs obtained by the Feds after Enron tanked in 2001, and found that the amount of 'active e-mail cliques' -- or groups of co-workers who've all had one-on-one e-mail contact with each other -- leapt from 100 to nearly 800 a month before the company folded. The duo argues that during times of duress, workers are more likely to directly contact those co-workers with whom they feel most comfortable, instead of sending out mass e-mails or loading messages up with CC's.

While those numbers are impressive, corroborating this pattern with other examples of distressed companies may prove difficult in light of typical corporate policies; e-mail logs are rarely given to the public. Additionally, this data is almost eight years old. Since then, e-mail habits, etiquette, and tendencies are sure to have changed. However, it's safe to say that nervous employees rarely keep their mouths, or mail programs, closed for very long. [From: NewScientist.com]

Tags: business, economy, email, emails, enron, layoffs, top

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