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Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - Pacific Access Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)



First Advisor

Randall J. Koper

First Committee Member

Kenneth D. Day

Second Committee Member

Jon F. Schamber


This study investigated how a medium's richness, the type of organizational communication message, and organizational level of the respondent affected two dimensions of communication competence: appropriateness and effectiveness. In total, 93 employees of a single organization responded to a three-part questionnaire that posed episode specific questions assessing the competence that they would attribute to the use of each of five media in each of the three episodes. Research questions addressed the effects of the richness of five media (face-to-face; voice mail; electronic mail; written memo; and typed document) on communication effectiveness and appropriateness ratings when episodes involving production-, innovation-, and maintenance-type organizational functions were considered. Also considered as an independent variable was respondent occupation level (physical, clerical, managerial) to determine if ratings of communication competency change given the organizational level of the respondent. A 3 x 3 x 5 factorial analysis of variance (AN OVA) was employed to analyze the effect of the three independent variables on perceived communication effectiveness and appropriateness. Results showed that the effect of type of medium on perceived communication effectiveness and communication appropriateness of a message depended on the nature of the situation in which the medium was used and that the effect of organizational level on perceived communication competence depended on the type of medium used. Organizational level alone did not have an effect on perceived effectiveness and appropriateness, nor did the interaction of organizational level and type of message affect communication competency ratings. Strong support was found for the role of face-to-face communication as the most effective and appropriate medium for organizational communication regardless of the situation.



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