An exploratory study of the application of mindsight in virtual communication: the case of email

Ogwu, Suzannah (2019) An exploratory study of the application of mindsight in virtual communication: the case of email. Doctoral thesis, Northumbria University.

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Virtual communication is powerful because it gives the ability to communicate with one another instantly: overcoming time and distance barriers. As well as providing such opportunities as immediacy and reachability, it poses challenges such as articulation and discernment of content, issues relating to frequency of use, as well as the emotional and social intelligence of users. Many scholars have documented the problems encountered when people engage with virtual communication. These problems may include misunderstanding and information overload. Such problems can disrupt workflow and cause stress among workers. These problems are common in both the corporate and academic world, especially among people who have to use email communication continuously due to the nature of their jobs and activities. It is believed that every work environment utilizes one form of email communication or another on several levels and for different purposes.

Researchers have suggested technical and policy-related solutions to virtual communication problems. They have not, however, taken into cognisance the holistic views of issues such as sensory, bodily, mental and social states of individuals. Therefore, recent research has attempted to gain an in depth understanding of human issues which are connected with virtual communication and have explored what it means to address the challenges mention above (such as emotional, environmental issues and self-awareness of users). In order to address this gap, Mindsight Theory (Siegel 1999 to 2016) has been suggested. The Mindsight Theory centres around mental health issues but has not yet been applied to virtual communication. This approach has used the combination of mindfultech email observation developed by David Levy and Mindsight Theory formulated by Daniel Siegel. The combined practise and theory were adopted to form the Mindsight utility for virtual communication. The crux of the exercise was to encourage people to cultivate empathy, compassion, emotional intelligence and self-reflection on virtual communication in particular on email communication. This was developed to engage users in experiencing self-awareness and awareness of others. It allowed them to develop their guidelines for virtual communication. The email observation practice is a set of exercises that has been developed to enable people to identify their email habits over a duration of time to establish a change of attitude towards electronic communication.

In this research, an exploratory study has been conducted using an interpretive paradigm to understand the implications of the theory of Mindsight on self-awareness and awareness of others on virtual communication. A pilot study was conducted to streamline the exercise. Three case studies were completed: two with university students and one with a social entrepreneurship organisation. The findings suggest that heightened awareness of sensory, bodily, mental activities and social awareness were experienced among the participants. The findings correlate with the personal guidelines formulated by the participants. The outcomes of the research addressed the gaps identified.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Uncontrolled Keywords: integration, mindsight, virtual communication, communication utility, integration
Subjects: G400 Computer Science
G900 Others in Mathematical and Computing Sciences
Department: Faculties > Engineering and Environment > Computer and Information Sciences
University Services > Graduate School > Doctor of Philosophy
Depositing User: Rachel Branson
Date Deposited: 10 Feb 2020 12:21
Last Modified: 31 Jul 2021 19:51

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