Appropriateness, Effectiveness of Communication Channels

Source: Journal of Communication

We examined perceived appropriateness and effectiveness of six communication channels (face-to-face, telephone, voice mail, electronic mail, letter, fax) used in relation to interpersonal communication motives (inclusion, affection, control, relaxation, escape, pleasure) in other-directed and self-directed need-fulfillment situations.

In Study 1, respondents selected the channel they thought would best communicate standard messages and rated it on effectiveness and appropriate-ness. In Study 2, respondents rated the effectiveness and appropriateness of all six communication channels by considering scenarios that reflected the two need-fulfillment directions of all six motives.

Analyses revealed significant main effects for direction, channel, and motive, and significant interaction effects. People interact with others to achieve interpersonal goals. However, reasons for communicating with others may differ depending upon the available, preferred, or chosen communication channel. For example, a person may initiate a face-to- face conversation with another person to receive a feeling of inclusion. Yet, the same person may prefer using the telephone to fulfill another’s inclusion desires.

Communication competence may be achieved by choosing the most appropriate (i.e., socially acceptable) channel, and the one that will be effective (i.e., accomplish one’s goal). The chosen channel may be an effective way to achieve the goal, yet it may not have a required degree of social presence or richness. Which channels, then, are appropriate and effective?

Reference: Appropriateness and Effectiveness of Communication Channels in Competent Interpersonal Communication. Contributors: Stephanie A. Westmyer – author, Rachel L. DiCioccio – author, Rebecca B. Rubin – author. Journal of Communication. Volume: 48. Issue: 3. Publication Year: 1998. Page Number: 27.

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