More than half of 1,000 regular email users recently polled have complained of receiving ‘abusive’ messages, according to a study carried out by the UK subsidiary of Novell Inc. In a somewhat flamboyantly titled report, Shaming, Blaming and Flaming: Corporate Miscommunication in the Digital Age, we are told that bosses are to blame for the misery, and most often the wretched respondent’s immediate superior. Plus, if that individual is male, watch out – XY chromosome bearers are five times likelier to send flame-mail than their XX counterparts. The consequences of such thoughtless missives sound pretty upsetting – stress, loss of productivity, avoidance of face-to-face communication with colleagues, and in some cases quitting that job altogether, according to the researchers. Yet so useful is email at the same time that 70% said they could now not do without it, though that may be a reluctant acceptance: 75% of respondents enjoy using e- mail, 60% say they are more efficient in their work as a result, but 94% said they waste up to an hour a day responding to irrelevant email. A danger that the study suggests companies could do better by being aware of is that email is too often used in an immediate, and sometimes even impetuous way, and that guidelines should be established for its use, with the further sanction of a formal channel for complaint when those lines are breached.