A major tenet of communication theory is that content can be distinguished from the medium in which it appears. But in traditional organizational media such as memos, reports, meetings, and face-to-face conversation, the process of âcommunicationâ rarely distinguishes content from medium, and therefore the mediumâs constraints upon the type of organizational content possible may not be irnmediately obvious. Although research on topics such as the rise of tnodern offices (85) and group decision making (170) does consider such distinctions, the diffusion o computer-mediated communication systems has highf lighted this issue. Since many kinds of content can be digitized by the computer and exchanged through telecoiTimunications networks, content is now physically, instead of only theoretically, separable from its particular rnedium of transmission. Both content and medium can thus differentially influence how organizational members use and evaluate organizational information. This simultaneous separability, blurring, and interaction of content and medium generates both obstacles to and opportunities for communication within organizations. I n p r ticular, this article focuses on one o f the most important aspects of organizational communication in rapidly changing environments, that of innovation. Computer-mediated communication systems (CMCS) ha.ve already been shown to be associated with persistent, although malleable
Journal of Communication – Wiley
Published: Dec 1, 1987
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