A Dual-Capacity Model of Communication Media Choice in Organizations


  • The authors are grateful for the comments of Robert Bies, Larry Browning, Larry Cummings, Ronald Rice, Nancy Roth, Michal Tamuz, and two anonymous reviewers on earlier drafts. Portions of this article were presented at the 1989 annual meeting of the Academy of Management held in Washington, DC.


Most previous research concerning communication media choke in organizations has stressed the capacity of media to convey data. More recently, scholars have examined the capacity of media to convey and manifest meaning. Rarely have both functions been considered concurrently. In this artcle, a model is proposed that not only permits the simultaneous examination of these two functions but reflects that media use is influenced by characteristics of the task, individual and organizational capability constraints, and normative factors. By exploring the implications of this expanded dual-capacity perspective, a more encompassing theory of the determinants of communkation media use in organizations is proposed.