Public Electronic Aggression (PEA)

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Identification

PEA involves email admonishments with a large carbon-copied list, intended to show dominance and aggression. What it actually shows is lack of judgment, and so this often backfires. For some reason, non-profits and volunteer organizations can be very active in the PEA arena where the politics are vicious but the stakes are low[xv].

Example

Consider someone who sends an email with a message critical of your performance to a list of your clients, management, and/or stakeholders.

Solution

Do not defend yourself quickly or jump into the fray. Breathe. Focus on the issue and meet decision-makers in person if possible. Phone stakeholders, one at a time, explaining your position. Ask the stakeholders about their ideas on how to respond. If it is too large a distribution list, simply state facts refuting the attack. This type of behavior reflects worse on the person sending the email than it does on you, although it may certainly prompt questions.

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