Dual roles in information mediation at work: Analysis of advice-receiving and advice-providing diary surveys

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Abstract

In everyday work, people often turn to their colleagues for information. Those colleagues play the role of information mediators by intervening in the information seeking and use of others. This study investigates how people initiate the information mediation process, how they influence one another's subsequent information behavior, and how they benefit from the process, from the perspectives of both the information seeker and the information mediator. To examine the dynamics of the information mediation process, an online diary survey was conducted in a real-world workplace setting, followed by in-depth interviews. This paper reports on a preliminary analysis of 450 diary entries in which participants reported the work tasks that required advice from colleagues as well as the extent of the advice provided. Analysis of the diary data revealed the types of tasks, types of advice, and relationship between task and advice types. The results suggest that people perceive tasks differently depending on whether they play the role of information seeker or information mediator, while their perception of advice seems to be independent of their role in the information mediation process. These typologies serve as a basis for further analyzing reciprocal influences between information seekers and mediators.

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