In this chapter we argue that issues of identity are central to understanding how communication technologies affect organizational practice. We develop this argument by first reviewing some of the dominant approaches to understanding the social psychological processes implied or held responsible for CMC effects. We highlight the common themes underpinning these approaches, and trace their origins. As we hope to make clear, despite the variety of approaches, they rely nevertheless on a small set of common assumptions about the nature of CMC. Chief among these is the assumption that the reduced bandwidth of telecommunications determines the social character of communication in CMC—or rather its lack of sociality. This technical feature has been used in various ways to predict a range of social outcomes of CMC-use in organizations. However, we argue that the predictions do not correspond with the actuality of CMC use. In the second half of the chapter, we discuss a theoretical blind-spot common to these approaches that can be overcome by adopting a social identity approach to organizational CMC. We argue that this approach can account for many of the varied and context-dependent effects that have been observed in group CMC within a single unifying conceptual framework.
- Flaming in computer-mediated communication: Observations, explanations, implications
- Computer-mediated communication and social identity
- Social Psychology of the Internet
- Facing the future: Emotion communication and the presence of others in video communications
- Constructing the networked organization: Content and context in the development of electronic communications.
- How social is Internet communication? A reappraisal of bandwidth and anonymity effects
- Engaging in email discussion: conversational context and social identity
- Social identity, group norms, and deindividuation: Lessons from computer-mediated communication for social influence in the group
- Love at first byte: Building personal relationships over computer networks
- When are net effects gross products? The power of influence and the influence of power in computer-mediated communication
About Martin Lea
I'm interested in understanding how people communicate, relate and behave on the Internet, social media, and the Web. I do independent research, write and publish, and have contributed to over 20 books. I provide training, resources and services to help people build digital resilience and optimise their Internet communication. My latest project Adoption Social Media Info explores how social media use is reshaping the lives of adoptive families.