Complete Site Outline

Introduction: Motivations and Backgrounds
Literature Reviews
Research Method
Findings
Discussion, Implications
Conclusion & Limitations




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CHAPTER 2:
A REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE

"The future is likely to belong to those organizations that never stop asking, `How can we better organize and manage ourselves?'"
(Galbraith and Lawler, 1993.)

2.1. INTRODUCTION

What determine managers' choice of communication media? Why do managers prefer to use one communication media over another? Within the domain of information system and communication research there exists a substantial body of theories that explain manager's media choice. The purpose of this chapter is to review the theories on media choice and to identify the deficiencies of these theories.

2.2. EARLY RATIONAL THEORIES

The early theories on media choice tend to be from the rational and individual school of thought. The first theory is the social presence theory of Short, Williams and Christie (1976). This theory emphasises the psychological aspect of using communication media: media choice hinges upon the ability of the media to convey the nature of the relationship between the communicators. In this regard, communication media can be described as warm, personal, sensitive or sociable.

A few years later, Daft and Wington (1979) proposed a language variety theory to explain media choice. It evolved from the idea that certain media, such as painting or music, are capable of conveying a broader range of ideas, meanings, emotions compared to mathematics. Such media have a higher language variety. This led to the suggestion that language variety needs to be matched with the communication task. Equivocal and complex social tasks are said to require a medium with high language variety.

Obviously, this is not directly applicable to manager's choice as they do not use painting or music as a mean of communication, but this notion lays the foundation for media richness theory. This is where the discussion will turn to next.

2.3. MEDIA RICHNESS THEORY[1]

The previous two theories are fragmented and non-comprehensive. With media richness theory a much fuller picture of media choice emerged. Daft and Lengel (1984, 1986) were the first to propose the media richness theory.[2] The media richness theory is a general theory that explains managerial behaviours as well as organizational design.[3] It became one of the most popular and widely studied models of media choice because of its well structured and intuitive framework.

2.3.1. Original Formulation

Media richness theory establishes a framework that ranks communication media along a continuum in terms of their "richness". In this context, "richness" denotes the capacity of the media to: (i) carry large volume of data, and (ii) convey meaning.[4] More specifically media richness refers to the ability of the media to change human understanding, overcome different conceptual frames of reference, or clarify ambiguous issues in a timely manner (Daft and Lengel 1984, 1986). Thus, where the mode of communication provides new substantial understanding it is considered "rich"; otherwise, it is "lean".

Four criteria (the original criteria) were used by Daft and Lengel (1984) to classify communication media along the continuum. These are summed up in Table 2.1.

These criteria denote the qualities of rich media; their attributes impact upon human understanding and frame of reference (Daft and Lengel 1984, 1986). Consequently, communication media possessing more features of the criteria would rank higher on the richness scale compared to one possessing less. For example, using these criteria, oral media (eg. face-to-face and telephone) are believed to be richer than written media because they provide opportunities for immediate feedback and can have multiple cues in a natural language tailored to the circumstances. Typically, synchronous media (ie. with immediate feedback) are considered richer than asynchronous media (ie. involve delay in the communication process). So telephone was ranked lower than face-to-face because it can transmit fewer cues (ie. cannot see the other person). An example of the ranking is illustrated in Table 2.2.

2.3.1.1. Information Tasks and Media Choice

Daft and Lengel (1984) presented a contingency framework that matches two concepts: (i) the nature of the information task, and (ii) the characteristics of communication media as represented by the media richness scale. Drawing from the work of Weick (1979) and Galbraith (1973), Daft and Lengel distinguished two information tasks carried out by organisations: (a) interpretation of external environment, and (b) coordination of internal organizational activities. Recognising the complexity of the social system that constitutes an organisation, both aspects are argued to be required in an information processing structure to handle the transfer of a vast volume of information and to significantly reduce ambiguity.

Despite the importance of both aspects the media choice literature has somehow gravitated towards the latter.[5] Ambiguity reduction is seen as the defining characteristic of a rich media. It is relevant to both information tasks. To successfully interpret the external environment, for example in formulating a strategic plan, organisation members need to establish a shared view of events, because external data are often unstructured, ambiguous and sometimes downright confusing. So Daft and Lengel (1984) argued that an organisation information processing system needs to reduce ambiguity, or more precisely, equivocality. Formally, "equivocality" is defined as:

"[T]he extend to which data are unclear and suggest multiple interpretations about the environment...[such that it] is reduced through shared observation and discussion until a common grammar and course of action can be agreed on"(Daft and Weick, 1984, at p291).

In other words, where a matter is equivocal managers would be confused and disagreed with one another; they would not know how to address the matter. This is because they lack mutual understanding about the matter, and until they can come to an understanding they would not be able to proceed any further. In this regard, equivocality is very different to "uncertainty", which is caused by an insufficiency of information to perform the task. This can be easily cured by any additional information regardless of the medium of communication used. Equivocality, by contrast, requires that a shared meaning or understanding be reached between the parties.

Given that rich media are supposed to facilitate understanding it is argued by Daft and Lengel as the ideal media to handle equivocal task. Thus the greater the equivocality in a communication task, the richer the media that is required. This is akin to a contingency type logic claiming effectively that a particular communication task needs to be matched with a particular communication media to enable efficient information processing within the organisation. This approach is summed up neatly by this definition of the richness theory:[6]

"a process by which individual managers rationally attempt to match the characteristics of the communication media at their disposal to the requirements of their communication tasks in order to achieve personal and organizational effectiveness"

This relationship is illustrated in Figure 2.1.

This logic is generally consistent with managers' usage pattern of communication media in practice: managers do seem to choose media by matching it to the richness of the media. Research such as that of Mintzberg (1972) did find that managers preferred to use face-to-face means of communication rather than the more formal written reports because such formal reports were said to be untimely and inadequate for the non-routine and ambiguous tasks of managers. Under the richness scale, face-to-face communication is the richest medium.

In sum, as a theory media richness can be regarded as both prescriptive and descriptive. Media richness theory is a prescriptive model in that it posits that organizational effectiveness required a match between information processing requirement (eg. ambiguity reduction) and communication media (eg. face-to-face, writing, etc): Daft and Lengel (1984, 1986). It is descriptive insofar that it explains and provides reasons for the choice of media in different circumstances (Daft et al, 1987; Daft and Lengel, 1990; Trevino et al, 1990)

2.3.2. Modern Communication Technologies : Expanded Formulation

The original criteria are based on the traditional mode of intra-organizational communication. In particular, it emphasises the strength of face-to-face communication. By using face-to-face communication as a benchmark for comparison (Culnan and Markus, 1987), the presumption is that face-to-face is the optimal means of communication. The fact that managers generally preferred to communicate face-to-face provides some support for this presumption.

Relying on this presumption, a persistent view in the literature is that an electronic mode of communication is not a rich medium because it lacks the qualities that are deemed to be high in richness. Email, for example, is very low down the scale in Table 2.2 because as a text based medium it has no social presence and has limited ability to transmit any cues. This in turn leads to the general claim that where managers perform equivocal tasks they would rely much less on modern communication media (eg. Trevino et al, 1987; Daft et al, 1990).

However, the original Daft and Lengel criteria were not design with modern communication media in mind. Indeed, in a study of interactive media, such as email, the notion of richness has been shown not to be an inherent property of the medium (Lee, 1994). Consequently, it is highly questionable that the notion of `richness', at least as based on the original criteria, can provide a fair basis of comparison between traditional and modern communication media. In seeing face-to-face as a de facto standard or an optimum media, the results are naturally biased against modern communication media.

Modern communication technologies have qualities not found in traditional communication media. This leads some to argue that modern communication medium, such as email, is in fact much richer than was the case using the original criteria (Markus, 1994; Sproull, 1991). Sproull (1991)[7] was the first to provide an updated definition of richness by incorporating the value-added features of modern communication technologies, especially email and groupware. Subsequently, Valacich et al (1993) identified another related quality. The four addition criteria are outlined in Table 2.3.

Anyhow,it can be argued that the focus of media richness theory is still on face-to-face. In fact, it is to be doubted whether "richness" is an appropriate notion to assess modern communication technologies. The notion of richness just does not seem to cover the qualities possessed by modern communication technologies; these qualities go beyond `richness' and the notion of communication task equivocality.[8]

2.4. MEDIA RICHNESS THEORY: AN EVALUATION

2.4.1. Empirical Evidence

The research papers studying media richness are summarised in Table 2.4.

There are numerous studies providing empirical support for media richness theory. The primary claim of the theory that managers will choose rich media (as defined under the original criteria) in situation where the communication task is high in ambiguity has been established in many studies (Daft et al, 1987; Russ et al, 1990; Trevino et al, 1990; and Whitfield et al , 1996).

Complementing such survey style studies is an investigation by Trevino et al (1987) in which the managers are interviewed as to the incidents and rationale for choosing particular communication media. The responses are overwhelmingly that fact-to-face communication (a rich medium) is preferred in situations where the messages to be conveyed are ambiguous.

2.4.1.1. Adequacy Questioned by Modern Communication Technologies

While there is a solid body of research supporting the position of media richness theory, an equally large number of research studies provide confounding evidence. Indeed, empirical support for media richness theory is particularly weak in relation to modern communication media like email or voice-mail (Markus, 1994; Markus et al, 1992; Rice and Shook, 1990).

It is no surprise that research giving conflicting evidence tends to be of more recent origin. With the incorporation of more modern communication technologies in the research design, studies are only recently in a position to expose the predisposition of the media richness theory towards traditional communication media. The increased prevalence of technology usage in organisations in general may provide another explanation.

In a meta study by Rice and Shook (1990), the prediction of media richness theory was found not to hold. The inadequacy of the theory really became apparent in a study on email usage by Markus (1994). Markus (1994) conducted a fairly comprehensive study involving a survey of 504 managers and an interview with 29 personnel (whose positions range from chairman to administrative assistant), and collection of archival data. The study found that managers do not regard email to be particularly rich. This is consistent with the richness model under the original criteria, but is inconsistent with the updated criteria. Yet the most curious finding is that mangers used email substantially more than the theory predicted. This study effectively weakens the media richness theory: the theory was not found to provide an adequate explanation and the updated criteria were also found to be incapable of capturing managers' perception of richness.

Why? Using evidence from the interviews, Markus concluded that social processes provide a superior explanation of media choice. And this position is consistent with other studies: Schmitz and Fulk (1991), Schmitz (1987) and Steinfield and Fulk (1986).[9] Likewise, D'Ambra (1995) demonstrated media richness theory failed to fully explain media choice in an Australian study focusing on the use of voice mail in organizations.

2.4.2. Reliability of Underlying Construct and Approach

The reliability and validity of two fundamental constructs of media richness theory are still not clear. While there are plenty of papers examining the predictive and explanatory power of the media richness theory, and there are solid empirical justifications for the link between equivocality and media richness (Daft et al, 1987; Trevino et al, 1987; and Russ et al, 1990); the underlying construct of media richness and task equivocality have received limited attention in the literature. Only recently did a paper by D'Ambra (1995) investigate this issue.

In most studies media richness is not something that is explicitly measured.[10] This can be seen in the summary in Table 2.4. Often, it is simply determined by its position on the continuum of richness derived from the set of original criteria noted above. In other words, media richness is treated as an "invariant objective features" of each communication media (Schmitz and Fulk, 1991).[11] The central problem is that these original criteria are themselves outdated with no recognition of the very different qualities of modern communication technologies. After investigating the matter D'Ambra (1995) came to the conclusion that the reliability of the media richness scale is much weaker at the "lean" end of the scale. And at this lean end, of course, are found the modern communication technologies. D'Ambra claimed that this highlights the inability of the traditional media richness scale to capture the full range of attributes or qualities of these modern communication media.

Again, the verdict is very similar in relation to task equivocality. In most prior studies equivocality is either not explicitly measured, or if it is, it is determined by a panel of judges and not by the subjects of the media choice research.[12] Moreover, although the scales used was found to be "adequate", D'Ambra (1995) noted that its operationalisation is "problematic".[13] This is not surprising because a cursory examination of the literature on task equivocality and uncertainty reveals that although this construct has a long theoretical history and is well theorised conceptually, its operationalisation is through the imperfect proxy of task uncertainty.

2.4.3. Missing Task Characteristics

Under media richness theory task characteristics refer primarily to the notion of equivocality. The question that arises is why just equivocality? A communication task can possess many other task characteristics. For example, the task could involve different locations, or there may be a time limit, or it may involve more than one person, etc. These other task characteristics are further considered in Chapter 3.

Failure to consider these task characteristics make prior studies of media choice highly artificial. While the narrow perspective seems to serve its purpose within the context of media richness theory, it is inadequate to provide an understanding of the overall media choice process. Indeed, as established subsequently in this thesis, equivocality alone is inadequate to explain the media choice process. This narrow focus also tends to be biased against modern communication media. This could explain some of the curious and conflicting results in prior studies.

2.4.4. Additional Deficiencies of the Media Richness Approach

The rational logic in media richness theory may provide an intuitive foundation to explain and predict media choice, but the current approach in measuring media richness has a critical flaw: media richness is treated as an "invariant objective feature"[14]. It is assumed to be the same regardless of context or person; individual mangers are assumed to be aware of all the inherent characteristics of each media, and make choice on the basis of these characteristics. This is unrealistic. People have imperfect cognitive abilities; and the perception of one person is not necessarily the same as another. This is very different to the model assumption that people somehow perceive and act in the same objective manner. Such unrealistic assumptions represent the focal point of attack from the social orientated school of thought:[15]

"There is no simple relationship between message and medium... The rational model of media choice fails to suffice in its explanation of managerial communication behaviour when managers' preferences for media are taken into accounting and when on considers personal communication-related variables..."

In addition, attempts to somehow categorise modern communication technologies, such as "multi-media" technology, along a continuum of richness may be rather meaningless in that the new media technologies are very fluid such that they encompass the characteristics of more than one traditional mode of communication.[16]

2.4.5. Summary

The questionable reliability and validity of the measures for media richness and task equivocality plus the mixed results in the literature, especially in relation to modern communication media do indicate that "media richness theory does not fully explain media choice in an organization setting."[17] This is consistent with the argument that the notion of media richness is not design with modern communication media in mind. Even with the inclusion of the qualities of modern communication technologies, the notion still tends to favour the more traditional media.

The bias against modern communication media is amplified by the focus on only one task characteristics. There is little doubt that task equivocality is important and insightful in explaining mangers' choice of communication media, but in reality there are many other variables that impact on the requirement of each communication task. It is submitted that the narrow focus of previous media choice research has deprived the studies of additional explanatory power in relation to the overall media choice process. This may even explain the mixed finding in previous literature.

2.5. ALTERNATIVE MEDIA CHOICE THEORIES

2.5.1. Social Construction Theory

The inability of the richness theory to explain the confounding evidence mentioned above have given rise to another body of theories known as the "collective-level" theories that focus on the broader collective variables like structure, environment, culture and politics.[18] These theories are not based on rational choice alone but are a "collective behavioural response to a socially-constructed definition of the medium's appropriateness."[19] Under these theories, "richness" is an outcome of social behaviour not the cause of social behaviour (in relation to media choice). In other words, the social context provides a framework to assess the different mediums by emphasising certain media characteristics and guiding the interpretation of them. The features of social and rational theories are compared in Table 2.5.

The most comprehensive theory in this regard is the social influence model of technology use (Fulk et al, 1987; Fulk et al, 1990).[20] It posited that individual media's perception is not just a function of objective (rational) choice, but is partly a social construction. Fulk, et al (1990) found support for the two main limbs of this model.

Table 2.5: Social and Rational Theories Compared


Rational/ Individual Theories
Social/ Collective Theories
Media Characteristics

* Invariant;


* All salient to the individual.


* Still relevant; but importance decline relative to social forces;


* Not all features are salient.

Choice Making Process

* People analyse the media features objectively;


* An objectively rational process that is based on the salient and invariant media characteristics.


* A subjectively rational process;


* Individuals develop socially acceptable interpretations and behaviours that is justifiable with social norms or expectation; ie. influenced by others.

Role of Social Context
n/a

* Social context plays a significant role in media choice;


* Social cues influence individual's interpretation of the objective requirement of the communication task;


* Establish social norms that inhibit media use.

Examples of Theories
Media Richness;

Social Presence.

Social Influence Model;

Symbolic Interactionism;

Critical Mass.

2.5.1.1. Social Influences

First, properties like "richness" are posited to be subjective and influence by attitudes, statements and behaviours of other people. So unlike classical richness theory, it recognises that people's perception does differ, that richness is not an objective function of some inherent characteristics of the media. This is based on the recognition that the social context can provide the norms and expectation that shape people's perception and behaviours.[21] For example, in an office where everyone does not use email and make negative comments in relation to it, any particular individual would be less likely to regard email as rich.

Related to this idea are papers that invoke situational variables as an influence of media choice: Markus (1986), Steinfield and Fulk (1986), and Trevino, et al (1987). There is the critical mass theory by Markus (1987). Steinfield and Fulk (1986) and Cadwell, et al (1995) found evidence suggesting that geographical distance, amount of message content and time pressure (ie. urgency of message) provide a strong influence on managers' media choice. In addition, Trevino, et al (1987) found that communication media has symbolic meaning associated with. Depending on the shared meaning evolved through time by the mutual interaction of people each media will be implicitly understood to serve a particular purpose or to be used in particular situations. This shared social understanding dictates media choice behaviours.

Also, this aspect of social construction theory is related to institutional theory.[22] Loosely speaking, institutional theory claimed that the norms, values, standards, expectations engendered by the institutional environment shape also the norms, values, standards, expectation of the individual (Scott, 1987). For example, where it is the accepted practice of the industry to use email for communication, a firm and the people working within it are likely to follow the same practice such as to give them a sense of legitimacy. On the basis of this theory, Markus (1987) concluded that "whereas information richness theory predicts that the uses of new media will be relatively invariant across social units, institutional theory predicts that social definitions, and hence also uses, of new media will vary, perhaps dramatically across units."[23]

2.5.1.2. Experience and Skills

Second, the social influence model incorporates the idea that expertise with a medium also influence media use. For example, lack of skill will inhibit uses, or that the medium may not be perceived to be as "rich" (as otherwise) if the user lacks the skill or training to use it properly. In relation to email, this is supported indirectly by Komsky (1991) which found that frequent users of email tend to be more tolerant of system problems and to perceive the medium as easy to use.[24]

2.5.2. Critical Mass Theory

The critical mass theory posits that the choice to use interactive medium (due to its unique characteristics) depends largely on whether the interactive media is accepted by the society at large, a "universal access medium", because until that happens people would be reluctant to pioneer the use of the media (Markus, 1987; Huber and Daft, 1987).[25] This pre-condition for the choice of communication media makes intuitive sense; and is clearly related to the institutional theory noted earlier: the more people that use a particular medium for a particular purpose the more likely one is to use that medium for that purpose.

2.5.2.1. Information Technology Maturity

A further look at the literature reveals consistency with theories on IT maturity. This notion essentially conceptualised the extent that the organization accept IT.[26] From the idea that IT maturity evolved in stages,[27] it is arguable that the communication media choice is likely to vary along with it. It is reasonable to say that the extent that IT has permeated the organization's infrastructure and culture would impact upon people's choice of communication media. The more that IT has permeated the organization, the more that people are likely to use modern communication technologies. This intuitive argument is consistent with current media choice theories:

(i) Social construction media choice theory suggests that social context can supply the norms and expectation that influence individual perception. Now, the higher the level of IT maturity, the more likely that usage of modern communication technologies would be the norm and hence reinforce the social acceptance of the medium. In other words, where there is high IT maturity, the usage of modern communication technologies could become an institutionalised phenomenon, thereby leading to a culture that values and encourages the use of modern communication technologies;

(ii) Where there is high IT maturity, people's expertise about modern communication media would also expect to be high by definition. Thus, people are less likely to be inhibited from using the technology.

(iii) With the advent of IT, there are more communication media offering benefits different to that of the traditional media. Thus, even judging from the inherent characteristic perspective alone media choice is likely to vary as a result.

2.6. APPROPRIATENESS OF A RATIONAL FRAMEWORK RECONSIDERED

The above discussions have greatly subsumed the adequacy of the rational approach, especially media richness theory. However, this thesis maintains a `loose' rational framework.

This thesis is not denying the validity of the social perspective. Rather than viewing the social perspective as an alternative, it is best seen as complementary. The social perspective never denies the relevance of the objective features of media, only that it emphasises that "richness" is more a function of social behaviours or construction. Although the fuzziness or chaotic feel associated with the social construction approach seems totally inconsistent with a rational approach, the point to note is that the two perspectives are not mutually exclusive. This argument is consistent with modern chaos and self-organisation theory that claims there is order in chaos.

Until now the literature tends to focus either on the rational or the social perspective. While the rational approach is more systematic and provides a clearer structure of the media choice process, it lacks the richness of detail offered by the social theories. Yet, a rational approach is more practical in that it provides a framework that can facilitate the analysis and design of organization information processing system. This account for the continuing popularity of individual rational choice approach (Markus, 1994).

Meanwhile, social theories may seem rather fuzzy but the process is not irrational. The social elements can themselves be rationalised. Take symbolic interactionism for instance, which claims that people use media to signify something through the socially agreed meaning of different communication media. For example, people may want to convey a sense of authority by communicating in writing. In this context, if managers are asked why they chose to communicate in writing, they would respond by saying that want to show their authority. Is this not rational?

Consequently, this thesis presents a more comprehensive framework, in Chapter 3, that integrates the rational and social elements in a "loose" rational framework. It is "loose" because the framework recognises that people are not perfectly rational. People do not function in a mechanistic manner. The social basis of people means that their decision process is necessarily complex.[28] Indeed, this lack of perfect rationality could provide another explanation for the deficiency in the traditional media richness theory. In this regard, transaction cost economics may offer some insight.[29]

2.7. CHAPTER SUMMARY

Literature on media choice has provided many explanations for media choice. Media richness theory, for instance, posits a match between the task equivocality and the characteristics of the communication channel. There are also many social theories that supplement this rational model. Yet inadequacies of these theories are apparent in the literature particularly in relation to modern communication technologies.

The once dominant rational approach seems to have been subsumed by the rise of social type theories. Yes, social theories do offer a fresh and softer perspective but another explanation may be that the traditional rational approach is too narrow. The failure to examine the effect of other task characteristics has greatly restricted the ability of these theories to explain the overall media choice process.

It is submitted that a broader perspective needs to be adopted, one that consolidates the different theories on media choice, whether social or rational, and incorporates a fuller and more realistic range of communication task characteristics. To this end a comprehensive framework that elaborates the media choice process is developed in the next chapter.

 

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[1] This is also known as the information richness theory.

[2] The origin of the theory can be traced to the PhD dissertation of Bodensteiner (1970). It is grounded upon the "information processing theory" in the field of psychology.

[3] Because of the limited scope of this thesis, the organization design and effectiveness aspects of media richness theory will not be addressed.

[4] More generally, Daft and Lengel (1984) at p196, defined "richness" to mean "potential information-carrying capacity of data." Arguably the reference to `data' is somewhat confusing if used in relation to communication channel because data are transfer through the channel. The point to note in relation to Daft and Lengel's definition is that the data, as well as the channel, can be described in terms of "richness". In this paper, richness refers to the latter only.

[5] Ie. The literature tends not to focus on the coordination aspect and the ability of the media to transfer information within the organization. Yet, organisations being a social system is bound to experience equivocality during internal coordination processes. There are bound to be some disagreement. So ambiguity reduction is equally important in relation to internal coordination.

[6] Markus (1994) at p505.

[7] Sproull, R. (1991).

[8] This argument is made clearer during the Chapter 5 discussion of the findings.

[9] See Section 2.5.1.

[10] The exceptions are: Fulk and Ryu (1990), Trevino et al (1990) and D'Ambra (1995).

[11] A point further discussion in Section 2.4.4.

[12] D'Ambra (1995) did get the subjects to determine equivocality in part of his study.

[13] D'Ambra (1995), p177 & p184.

[14] Alexander et al (1991), p170. In this study it was found that writing apprehension can influence managers' choice of media. See also Section 2.5.1.

[15] The transaction cost economic viewpoint presented in Chapter 3 eases this unrealistic assumption.

[16] This would particularly be the case with groupware (eg. Lotus Notes). This is an aspect that is not addressed in this thesis.

[17] D'Ambra et al (1997), p18.

[18] See Romm, Pliskin and Rifkin (1996) for a summary of these variables.

[19] Markus (1994), p522.

[20] In Fulk et al (1987) it was referred to as the "social Information processing Model" because of the psychological origin of the model.

[21] This is grounded upon the Social Information processing theory in psychology (Salancik and Pfeffer, 1977, 1978; Pfeffer, 1982).

[22] Markus (1994) referred to this as "social definition theory". Although he focuses on institutional theory, but he also includes under this umbrella term: (i) structuration theory; and (ii) social construction of technology theory.

[23] Markus (1994), p509.

[24] It should be noted that even if media acceptance lies beyond the critical mass, it does not mean that it will be accepted automatically; it meant only that resistance due to lack of popular support no longer exist.

[25] Notice that this theory could also fit under rational model insofar that the manager is assumed by Markus (1987) to be rational. Although it is perhaps more accurately classified as a social construction theory in that the theory emphasises the influence of social forces.

[26] This notion is also called IT sophistication. It was first used by Churchill et al in a study examining how mangers used computer-based IS. Churchill, Kempster and Uretsky (1969); See Karimi et al (1996) for a quick summary of the literature on IT maturity.

[27] Under Nolan's model, the IS of a typical company evolves along six stages: initiation, contagion, control, integration, data administration, and maturity. There is an alternative called technology assimilation model; see McFarlan (1985)

[28] Indeed this point even acknowledged in the original media richness model. See Daft and Lengel (1984).

[29] See Section 3.4.

 

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Copyright © 1997 Raymond Yu.