As computer-based communication technologies (CBCT) such as PC-based video-conferencing advance, the conventional view of media choice (Daft and Lengel, 1984,1986) faces challenge (Culnan and Markus 1987; Markus 1992). This study sets out to examine the limitations of such a view. Specifically, this paper argues that communication media, for the most part. have been conceptualized as passive message and meaning carriers and that an expansion of this perspective to include the engineering capacity of media is needed. By engineering capacity, we are referring to the medium's ability to construct, retain, manifest and transmit a message/meaning in an integrated process. Furthermore, it is posited that the individuals' (both sender and receiver) message creation versatility - the diverse skills and experiences possessed by the communicators in constructing, retaining, manifesting, and transmitting messages/meaning via various media - is critical in determining the nature of media choice/use. For the initial phase of our study, a convenient site was chosen from which eleven cases were selected for observation. Although findings are preliminary, initial results indicate that higher message creation versatility leads to better use of the engineering capacities offered by the media. Additionally, it was found that a positive relationship exists between versatility and choice: individuals who ranked higher in versatility often chose more than one medium with which to communicate and, more specifically. chose those media with which they felt most versatile, irrespective of the given task. Given the results, the authors maintain that a more expansive view of communication and media choice is required - one that takes into account such issues as new capacities of emerging technologies, versatility of tile communicators, and dynamics of the relationships (i.e., norms, roles, etc.) that exist between the sender and recipient.
King, Ruth C.; Hartman, Amir; and Hartzel, Kathleen, "MESSAGE CREATION VERSATILITY, MEDIA CAPACITY, AND MEDIA CHOICE: A FORWARD-LOOKING PERSPECTIVE" (1992). ICIS 1992 Proceedings. 35.