Personal nature and ambiguity as sources of message equivocality: An extension of media richness theory

J. Webster, L. K. Trevino, E. Stein

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

Media richness theory has become one of the most cited, yet controversial, theories of media choices in organizations. In this paper, we refine and extend media richness theory by more precisely characterizing its key construct, the concept of message equivocality. We identify two sources of message equivocality, personal nature and ambiguity. We then present results from three studies that demonstrate their differential effects on media choices. Personal nature explains variance in media choices over and above that explained by ambiguity. Further, employees prefer to send personal messages via face-To-face meetings, telephone and voice mail, and impersonal messages via electronic mail, facsimile and memos. Implications for research and new media are drawn.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationInformation Systems - Collaboration Systems and Technology
EditorsJay F. Nunamaker, Ralph H. Sprague
PublisherIEEE Computer Society
Pages34-40
Number of pages7
ISBN (Electronic)0818673249
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 1996
Event29th Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences, HICSS 1996 - Wailea, United States
Duration: Jan 3 1996Jan 6 1996

Publication series

NameProceedings of the Annual Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences
Volume3
ISSN (Print)1530-1605

Conference

Conference29th Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences, HICSS 1996
CountryUnited States
CityWailea
Period1/3/961/6/96

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Engineering(all)

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    Webster, J., Trevino, L. K., & Stein, E. (1996). Personal nature and ambiguity as sources of message equivocality: An extension of media richness theory. In J. F. Nunamaker, & R. H. Sprague (Eds.), Information Systems - Collaboration Systems and Technology (pp. 34-40). [493174] (Proceedings of the Annual Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences; Vol. 3). IEEE Computer Society. https://doi.org/10.1109/HICSS.1996.493174