Effects of Cultural Cues on Perceptions Formed During Computer-Mediated Communication

by Vignovic, Jane Ann

Abstract (Summary)
Computer-mediated communication, such as e-mail, facilitates cross-cultural interactions by enabling convenient communication. However, the absence of contextual or situational information in e-mails may cause recipients to over rely on dispositional explanations for behavior. An experiment was conducted on 435 students examining how technical language violations (i.e., spelling and grammatical errors) and etiquette deviations from language norms (i.e., short messages lacking a conversational tone) affect a recipientâs perceptions of an e-mail senderâs conscientiousness, intelligence, agreeableness, extraversion, affective trustworthiness, and cognitive trustworthiness. This study also investigated whether the effects of technical and etiquette language violations depend on the availability of information indicating the e-mail sender is from a foreign culture. Participantsâ causal uncertainty levels were examined as a potential moderator of the influence the provision of this additional contextual information had on the dependent variables. Results reveal that participants formed negative perceptions of the sender of an e-mail containing technical language violations. Specifically, perceptions of the senderâs conscientiousness and intelligence were affected by technical language violations. However, these negative perceptions were reduced when the participants had additional information indicating that the e-mail sender was from a different culture. Meanwhile, negative attributions stemming from etiquette violations were not significantly mitigated by knowledge that the e-mail sender was from a foreign culture. Causal uncertainty had no significant effects. Implications for work organizations are discussed. Overall, it is argued that a greater understanding of cross-cultural communication via e-mail can aid in the development of appropriate training and tools to increase the success of communication within and between organizations.
Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:Dr. Lori Foster Thompson; Dr. Frank J. Smith; Dr. S. B. Pond

School:North Carolina State University

School Location:USA - North Carolina

Source Type:Master's Thesis



Date of Publication:04/23/2008

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