Date of Award




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of Psychology


Industrial/Organizational Psychology

Content Description

1 online resource (viii, 137 pages) : illustrations.

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Sylvia G Roch

Committee Members

Kevin J Williams, Ellen V Rubin


communication channels, informal performance feedback, media channel expertise, performance management, workplace communication, Supervision of employees, Communication in personnel management, Feedback (Psychology), Employees

Subject Categories

Industrial and Organizational Psychology


In today’s workplace, managers are expected to provide ongoing informal performance feedback to their employees. This becomes a challenge when organizations are geographically dispersed and managers do not work in the same location as their subordinates. Managers must identify a media channel to use for hosting these informal employee performance discussions, and the traditional method of face-to-face is not always an option. This study evaluates the extent to which the communication channel used to host informal performance conversations influences employees’ perceptions of media richness, ease of use, channel usefulness, and feedback effectiveness. Results suggest that channel type influences employees’ perceptions of media richness and ease of use. Specifically, face-to-face is the richest medium and email is seen as the easiest to use. Further, self-reported knowledge-building experience moderates the channel type-perceptions relationships, such that greater expertise results in larger discrepancies in richness and ease of use perceptions between face-to-face and computer instant messaging. Additionally, richness and ease of use perceptions influence media usefulness perceptions for hosting performance conversations, which influences feedback effectiveness perceptions. The feedback channel itself was not found to directly influence feedback effectiveness perceptions. Thus, media channels not traditionally used for hosting performance conversations could be appropriate for use as long as the feedback receiver has positive perceptions of the channel. Overall, results of this study suggest that employees perceive workplace media channels differently, and channel perceptions matters in the context of performance conversations. Research and practical implications based on results of this study are discussed.