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Dissertation Information for Matthew J. Bietz

- Matthew J. Bietz

- Ph.D.

- Library and Information Science

- University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (USA) (2008)

- Gary Olson

- Michael Cohen
- Judith S. Olson
- Jason David Owen-Smith

MPACT Status: Fully Complete

Title: Interactivity and electronic communication: An experimental study of mediated feedback

Abstract: Interpersonal critical feedback is a particularly important form of organizational communication. With the rise of distributed work practices, virtual teams, and other non-collocated forms of work, feedback must increasingly be communicated through electronic means. Electronic communication media can reduce and distort contextual information, affect the interpretation of social cues, and shape relationships among communicators. This dissertation develops a theory of communication interactivity and presents two experimental studies designed to understand how the interactivity of a communication environment affects the delivery and interpretation of critical feedback.

In both experiments a participant received critical feedback about a document (s)he had written. The feedback was delivered in one of four mediated communication conditions. In two conditions, both the feedback provider and feedback recipient used the same communication medium, either videoconferencing or instant messaging. The other two conditions used mixed-media environments in which one participant sent messages through videoconferencing while the other replied using instant messaging. The first experiment examined how the communication environment affected both the critic and the feedback recipient, with experimental subjects in both roles. The second experiment focused only on the recipient's reaction to criticism, so that uniform feedback was delivered to all participants by a confederate.

The results of these experiments suggest that feedback delivery, interpretation, and use are affected by the communication environment. When feedback was delivered in videoconferencing instead of instant messaging, recipients found it less negative, formed better impressions of the critic, and believed the feedback more. Recipients were more likely to incorporate the critic's suggestions into their document when the critic was sending feedback through videoconferencing, and when the recipient was able to reply in videoconferencing. There is some evidence that men and women react to communication media differently in the feedback process. The experiments provide limited support for the theory of interactivity in electronically mediated communication developed here.

MPACT Scores for Matthew J. Bietz

A = 0
C = 0
A+C = 0
T = 0
G = 0
W = 0
TD = 0
TA = 0
calculated 2009-06-03 19:56:58

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Students under Matthew J. Bietz

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