The Richness Imperative and Cognitive Style: The Role of Individual Differences in Media Choice Behavior

Linda Klebe Trevino, Robert H. Lengel, Wayne Bodensteiner, Edwin A. Gerloff, Nan Kanoff Muir

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

113 Scopus citations

Abstract

This article proposes a new thesis about the role of individual differences in managers' media choice behavior. It argues that individual differences influence media choice only under conditions of low message equivocality. When equivocality is high, a “richness imperative” masks the influence of individual differences. Managers are compelled to use richer media to match the equivocality of the message. However, in low-equivocality situations, richness demands are lowered. Any medium is capable of carrying the message. Thus managers have more freedom to act on their preferences, and individual differences are more likely to influence behavior. The findings of an exploratory study provide some support for this theoretical notion. As hypothesized, the judging/perspective attitude, as measured by the Myers Briggs Type Indicator, influenced media choice under conditions of low equivocality but not under conditions of high equivocality. However, tolerance for ambiguity did not significantly influence media choice under either condition. Implications for future research and practicing managers are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)176-197
Number of pages22
JournalManagement Communication Quarterly
Volume4
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1990

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Communication
  • Strategy and Management

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