Issues and challenges for improving email use in engineering design

Craig Loftus, Christopher McMahon, Ben Hicks

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference Contribution (Conference Proceeding)

3 Citations (Scopus)


Good communication within the design process is a key component in an effective design process. As design teams become more distributed, effective communication becomes more difficult. For example, projects may be designed and specified in the UK, developed and produced in India, whilst being managed by a team split between France and the UK. Amongst the many communication mechanisms available to design teams, email has come to predominate, used for both managing the project and assist in developing the design. Despite its importance, little work has been done within engineering to understand email usage or to develop processes/procedures to improve its use. This paper uses a cross-disciplinary literature review to identify challenges and opportunities present in contemporary email software and usage. The issues identified are separated for analysis into categories based on the time-scale of their effects: ? Collaboration and communication - affecting team working and the discussion and exchange of information and ideas ? User - affecting work by individual users ? Records - concerning the documentary evidence of a projector activity ? Knowledge creation - concerning organisational learning The paper discusses the general themes which have emerged from an assessment of current research. Those challenges and opportunities which are of particular importance in the engineering domain are then identified and further work to address these issues is proposed.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Title of host publicationNordDesign 2008
Pages232 -242
Publication statusPublished - 2008


  • challenges, communication, email, issues, engineering, design

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