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Effects of Communication Medium on Interpersonal Perceptions

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Association for Computing Machinery


This paper uses a social psychological perspective to study the effectiveness of different media of communication and how they influence interactions in social groups and organizations. In particular, we are interested in the social richness of the media-how effectively they convey the personalities and intentions of their users. We studied CMC (email and chat) and voice telephony, and compared them with face-to-face interaction. Study 1 was a controlled laboratory study in which people got acquainted with a partner. Study 2 was a field survey in which employees reported on naturally occurring interactions at work that took place with people of varying levels of power (supervisor, peer, subordinate). The surprising result is that the telephone generally came out on top in both studies, suggesting that the telephone may provide the optimum blend of richness and presence for natural and satisfying interactions.


Connell, Joanie B.; Mendelsohn, Gerald A.; Robins, Richard W.; Canny, John (2001): Effects of Communication Medium on Interpersonal Perceptions. Proceedings of the 2001 ACM International Conference on Supporting Group Work. DOI: 10.1145/500286.500305. New York, NY, USA: Association for Computing Machinery. pp. 117–124. Boulder, Colorado, USA