Communication Media Repertoires: Dealing with the Multiplicity of Media Choices

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Abstract

In today’s organizations, employees have an ever-increasing variety of communication media to use in the performance of work activities. In this study, we seek to expand our understanding of media usage in organizations where there is a multiplicity of communication media available to employees. We use communication media repertoires as the lens through which we explore how media is used in the support of communication-based work performed by individuals in complex organizational settings. Data were collected in sales divisions at two large corporations in the information technology industry. We compared multiple media use within and between the two sales divisions, and identified similarities and differences in repertoires. Our findings suggest that use of repertoires is influenced by institutional conditions (e.g., incentives, trust, and physical proximity) and situational conditions (e.g., urgency, task, etc.), and by routine use of the media over time. Based on the findings, we propose a framework for investigating the use of multiple media in organizations through examination of communication media repertoires. Implications of these findings for research and practice are discussed.

Additional Details

Author Mary Beth Watson-Manheim and France Belanger
Year 2007
Volume 31
Issue 2
Keywords Distributed work teams, computer-mediated communication, communication media choice, communication media repertoire
Page Numbers 267-293