Some ambitious office workers will stop at nothing to get ahead.
And the use of email has provided an entire new box of dirty tricks for employees hoping to climb the career ladder.
Pushy office workers keen to impress bosses are increasingly using ‘ego mail’ as a way to get ahead of their colleagues.
And it seems men are the worst offenders.
Showing off – or showing a colleague up - by copying management into an email thread is becoming more common, according to a study from a Cambridge scholar.
Professor David De Cremer, of Cambridge University’s Judge Business School, found that workers who regularly CC, or ‘carbon copy,’ their boss into email replies do so to unsettle their co-workers.
‘This finding suggests that when your co-workers copy your supervisor very often, they may be doing so strategically, as they consciously know what the effect will be on you,’ he wrote in the Harvard Business Review.
Men who ‘have no shame’ are far more likely to engage these underhand tactics than women, according to Professor Tom Jackson of Loughborough University.
‘Anecdotally from our research I would say that males are much more focused on doing this. Females might know how to do it but maybe stop short of actually doing it.
‘Males have no shame - they just go ahead and do it,’ he said.
The method does seem to work, he added, because managers often remember pushier employees when promoting members of staff.
The ego email tactics could mean that women are missing out on promotions that are instead handed to male colleagues less embarrassed about using messages to show off.
Some office workers go out of their way to email bosses at anti-social hours to show their commitment to the job.
The study found that many would schedule messages to be sent to management late at night or early in the morning to make it appear they are working even when they are not.
This sort of behaviour could increase illness and stress in the workplace, according to experts.
David D’Souza, of human resources organisation the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, said ego emailing was a sign of an unhealthy working environment in which employees were ‘fearful’ for their jobs.
‘It’s very important for organisations to make their decisions based on competence, not levels of self-promotion,’ he warned.