Improving Media Richness Theory:A Study of Interaction Goals, Message Valence, and Task Complexity in Manager-Subordinate Communication
AbstractMedia richness theory predicts that managers, driven by the instrumental goal of task efficiency, choose media based on the match up of message equivocality and media richness. This study proposes that relational and self-presentational goals are also relevant in manager-subordinate interactions, particularly when messages differ in valence, and investigated 107 managers in Hong Kong. Findings with respect to traditional media show (a)media richness theory holds when messages are positive, (b) self-presentational goals are the most powerful predictor of media choice when messages are negative, (c) relational goals have some impact on managers’ media choice, and (d) complexity is a sensitive predictor of media choice. Thus, media richness theory can be improved by incorporating a broader consideration of relevant interaction goals and the constructs of message valence and complexity.