Publication Date

November 1998


The proliferation of computers and technology has resulted in increased use of computer mediated communications. However, the effective use of technology like bulletin boards and e-mail based communications can only be obtained if we understand how to enhance employee usage. Although human-computer interface has been a topic of considerable studies, most research has been done with students and under controlled conditions. In addition, field research has been limited in its inclusion of both social and individual factors that affect usage. In order to expand this research we report the results of a longitudinal study conducted within an entrepreneurial software company that used an innovative bulletin-board communication system. Our study uses employee survey data to measure social and individual factors that encompass attitudes toward the computer system. In addition, we obtained actual employee usage (copies of all postings to the bulletin board system) for the 12-month period of time following our survey. In addition to reporting the results of our study, we discuss implications of this work for other forms of computer mediated communications.


Suggested Citation
Ainspan, N. D. & Welbourne, T. M. (1998). Message and medium: The role of social and individual factors in using computer mediated communications (CAHRS Working Paper #98-25). Ithaca, NY: Cornell University, School of Industrial and Labor Relations, Center for Advanced Human Resource Studies.