Impact of Netiquette on Email Communication

Emails are likely to get evaluated more negative than maybe intended of the sender. Therefore, we should consider carefully what and how we write Emails, because every human has a need for self-esteem, respect and courtesy when communicating with others.

I investigated in my Master Thesis the impact of Netiquette on Email communication and found out, that writing in a respectful and courteous way has significant positive effects on the recipient.


Today’s organizations depend heavily on the use of email. Information is exchanged to reduce uncertainty and resolve equivocality to accomplish internal tasks or coordinate activities. Often issues are ill-defined in the brevity of emails and thus, the problem is a lack of clarity, not data.

However, due to its text-based nature, email has also reduced availabilities to convey nonverbal cues, which might support understanding. This makes it especially difficult to convey emotion or ambiguity, such as irony or sarcasm over email. Nevertheless, senders’ intentionally and unintentionally communicate emotion over email and emotions are likely to be the reason for miscommunication.

The aim of this study was to investigate the impact of Netiquette on the recipients’ level of understanding, job satisfaction, amount of uncertainty and perception of senders’ likability. An electronic questionnaire was developed, where participants (N=105) had to evaluate four email samples, which were ostensibly written by a superior or subordinate. All emails contained a negative message (rejection, criticism), but were either delivered just by their content or included common Netiquette rules. Results have shown, that the email samples with Netiquette significantly improved the understanding and job satisfaction, reduced uncertainty and let the sender appear more favorable. Additionally, the organizational status of the sender resulted in a leveraging positive effect on job satisfaction and evidence for gender differences were found in the results. Implications for managers and organizations are discussed.


Please feel free to download the MBA Master Thesis and Netiquette Guide to build up your own or your organizations’ Email Policy, because communication matters – everywhere. Thanks: