The Selection of Communication Media as an Executive Skill

Lengel, Robert H.; Daft, Richard L.
August 1988
Academy of Management Executive (08963789);Aug1988, Vol. 2 Issue 3, p225
Academic Journal
Effective manager communication has traditionally been associated with activities such as using the right words to describe something or careful reading and listening. Lengel and Daft argue that choosing the right medium to send or receive a message is also critical in successful communication. The concept of "richness" is used to link media characteristics to message characteristics. Communication patterns show that a rich medium like face-to-face should be matched with nonroutine,difficult-to-understand messages. A lean medium such as the written memo is best used for routine messages. Failure to make these matches leads to communication misunderstanding. Research findings show a relationship between sensitivity to media richness and executive job performance. Six rules are offered to help executives sharpen their media selection skills, as well as a model that can be used in guiding media selection for day- to-day communication.


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