Managers spend much of their time communicating and use an ever-larger range of communication

tools for the purpose. Empirical studies have shown that while ICT tools extend communication

opportunities, they do not replace other means of communication. Instead, managers use a set of

communication tools in which traditional media coexist alongside ICT tools.

In addition, studying the use of just one medium fails to give us a full picture of managerial

communication. To gain a better understanding, we need to examine how a range of different means of

communication are used.

To this end, we conducted a case study in a car manufacturing company with data mainly collected

through interviews with 36 managers. Our analysis of the data showed that managers use a set of

communication tools that form superposed layers, each new ICT being layered over the existing


Far from being the result of individual-level rational use, this layering process is socially constructed

by the different users depending on their context. Our study identified three forms of layering, namely

“subject to constraint”, “planned and emergent”, or “chosen”. We argue that these differences in the

layering process can help explain disparities in the outcomes of ICT adoption between organisations.