Research on the social implications of e-mail has promoted the role of electronic communication channels in reaching social equality and dissipating gaps between the social classes. Other streams of research maintain that social status attributions are mentally salient, and that people continue to rely on social cues in electronic communication as a way of dealing with uncertainties and reducing feelings of discomfort associated with unfamiliar contexts. In this paper, we use social cognitive theory (Bandura 1986) to derive a model that explains how attained social status and self-perception play a critical role in the use of e-mail to seek help and accrue social resources. The model is tested using data collected from 206 faculty members in a major U.S. University. The empirical results support the proposed research model implying that subjective measures of social status influence social assertiveness and the seeking of help through electronic channels.
Sherif, Karma; Wilcox, James; and Song, Jaeki, "A Social Status Perspective of Network Utility Over Electronic Channels in Academic Communities" (2008). AMCIS 2008 Proceedings. 85.