Dan Pink on the surprising science of motivation. Academic Earth - Video lectures from the world's top scholars. Email patterns can predict impending doom - tech - 22 June 2009 - New Scientist (-) EMAIL logs can provide advance warning of an organisation reaching crisis point.
That's the tantalising suggestion to emerge from the pattern of messages exchanged by Enron employees. After US energy giant Enron collapsed in December 2001, federal investigators obtained records of emails sent by around 150 senior staff during the company's final 18 months. The logs, which record 517,000 emails sent to around 15,000 employees, provide a rare insight into how communication within an organisation changes during stressful times. Ben Collingsworth and Ronaldo Menezes at the Florida Institute of Technology in Melbourne identified key events in Enron's demise, such as the August 2001 resignation of CEO Jeffrey Skilling. They then examined the number of emails sent, and the groups that exchanged the messages, in the period around these events.