Multi-Objective Personalization in Multi-Stakeholder Organizational Bulk E-mail

Ruoyan Kong, Charles Chuankai Zhang, Ruixuan Sun, Vishnu Chhabra, Tanushsrisai Nadimpalli, Joseph A. Konstan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Bulk email is often used in organizations to communicate "important-to-organization'' messages such as policy changes, organizational plans, and administrative updates. However, normal employees may prefer messages more relevant to their jobs or interests. Organizations face the challenge of balancing prioritizing the messages they prefer employees to know (tactical goals) while maintaining employees' positive experiences with these bulk emails, then they continue to read these emails in the future (strategic goals). Could personalization help organizations achieve these tactical and strategic goals? In an 8-week field experiment with a university newsletter, we implemented a 4x5x5 factorial design on personalizing subject lines, top news, and message order based on both the employees' and the organization's preferences. We measured these designs' influences on the open/interest/recognition/read-in-detail rate of the whole newsletter and the single messages within it. We found that ''important-to-organization'' messages only got higher recognition rates when being put on subject lines / top news (tactical goal). Mixing them with employee-preferred messages in top news did not bring further improvement to their own recognition rates but could improve the whole newsletter's recognition rate. Only when the top news solely contained the employee-preferred messages were the employees slightly more interested in the newsletter (strategic goal). We further analyze on which topics the employees and the organization's preferences conflicted. Finally, we discuss the design suggestions for organizational bulk email.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number528
JournalProceedings of the ACM on Human-Computer Interaction
Issue numberCSCW2
StatePublished - Nov 11 2022

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  • email
  • field experiment
  • organizational communication
  • personalization


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