Information Technology Management Media Richness Theory

IT Management: Media Richness Theory Research Paper

Introduction

Background

In today’s competitive business environment, companies are struggling to meet up the needs of these clients in the very best ways possible to greatly help them develop a pool of loyal customers. The field of it has emerged among the most important ones because of the increasing relevance of information flow and management. In past times, large multinational companies didn’t have to be worried about competition on the market since they dominated their respective industries. However, that’s no more the case. Firms are confronted with numerous challenges, the very best which is stiff competition. Therefore, they have to mine information about changing customer needs, emerging market trends, and how to manage these new forces. Information is critical in such an environment. An organization needs a system that would facilitate the efficient collection, processing, management, and sharing of data among the relevant stakeholders. The information should help the stakeholders in making the right decision on how to handle issues that the firm faces in its operations.

Scholars have come up with various models and theories to help different organizations manage various forces in the market. The models are meant to provide different that can be used to address specific issues in an organizational context. Media richness theory is one of the models that have gained popularity in the recent past. This model was developed in 1986 by Richard Daft and Robert Lengel (Gyamfi & Williams, 2017). The theory was developed to help individual organizations rank communication media and choose the most appropriate ones. Using this theory, a firm can rank the appropriateness of phone calls, e-mails, video conferencing, and various other communication platforms that exist. The goal is to select the richest medium that would yield the most desirable outcome. The model explains how the top management should choose the most appropriate medium of communicating with important clients, strategic partners, suppliers, and employees assigned very important tasks. In this paper, the researcher will evaluate the appropriateness of media richness theory in helping an organization to achieve information goals.

Research Problem

According to Dainton and Zelley (2014), many organizations are currently struggling to come up with effective platforms through which they can maintain effective communication with their customers, employees, and other strategic partners. Advancement in the field of information technology has seen an emergence of various media through which information can be shared. Traditional media such as radio, television, newspapers, phone calls, and e-mails are still commonly used in society. However, new approaches are emerging which tend to be more effective and incredibly popular. The emergence of video-conferencing technologies was transformational, specifically for multinational companies. It managed to get easy for regional managers in various countries all over the world to have conferences without needing to happen to be the headquarters. The social media marketing platform is another major milestone in neuro-scientific communication that’s shifting just how companies are calling their customers.

Facebook currently has near 2 billion regular users while YouTube and Twitter have near 1 billion users each (Cohen, 2012). The social media marketing platforms have grown to be popular method of reaching customers. That is informed by the truth that many teenagers, adults, and middle-aged people spend lots of time on social media. This means that companies can get in touch with them through these platforms. The issue that companies face is choosing the most likely media to attain different stakeholders. Social media marketing may be an appropriate platform to reach out to the customers, but Albadri (2013) says that it is not the best strategy when top managers need to share sensitive information. The top management unit needs to understand how to choose the appropriate platform based on the existing needs and the individuals involved in the communication.

Scope and Objectives

It is important to define the scope and objectives of this research. This research majorly relied on data collected from both primary and secondary sources. The scope of primary data collection was limited to the United Arab Emirates’ city of Dubai. It was necessary to interview a few managers or employees in strategic positions at a specific company in the city to understand their choice of communication media and how their chosen media enables them to achieve specific goals. Limiting the scope of data collection to Dubai was informed by the limited time available for the study. Secondary data was collected from a wide range of sources published in various countries around the world, especially in North America and Europe. The following are the specific objectives that the researcher seeks to achieve through this study:

Methodology

It is important to explain how data was collected to see the final outcome and recommendations manufactured in this study. As stated above, data was collected from primary and secondary data. Secondary data provided the foundation where this research was based. Journal articles, books, and reliable online sources were used to assemble relevant information in the analysis. Primary data was collected from the sample of respondents who decided to take part in this study. Both resources of data helped in providing an insight in to the issue under investigation.

Sampling and Sample Size

When conducting academic research, probably the most important factors that certain must consider is time. It is usually important to make sure that a study project is completed inside a specified for this to earn marks. This study was no exception. Enough time available for the analysis was very short. However, the researcher considered it critical to speak to a few industry experts to understand how they use various communication media to reach out with their targeted audience. A straightforward random sampling was used to recognize a small group to greatly help in the assortment of primary data. An example of only twenty participants originated from the specific banking institution in Dubai city. For the intended purpose of protecting the company and people interviewed, the institution is known as ABC Company.

The instrument of Data Collection

Time was a concern in this study, and therefore, it was vital that you develop a musical instrument of data collection that’s efficient, simple, and accurate. It had been also necessary to make sure that the instrument facilitated a uniform method of collecting data. Therefore, the researcher developed a questionnaire. The questionnaire was considered appropriate due to the uniformity with which it allows data to be collected.

The manner of Data Collection

Data was collected from the sampled participants utilizing the questionnaires that were delivered to them through e-mails. First, the researcher reached out to these participants through calls. They were informed concerning this study and the necessity for them to take part in it. The amount of urgency of the analysis was explained and what these were expected to do after they received the questionnaires. These were informed concerning the commitment of the researcher to safeguard their identity and the identity of these organization. These were instructed on how best to answer the questions, which only needed significantly less than ten minutes of their own time.

Data Analysis

Data collected from the secondary was analyzed both qualitatively and quantitatively. Quantitative data analysis enabled the researcher to look for the magnitude of the impact of various communication media on the success of a firm. The qualitative method of analysis was used to explain the relevance of various communication media in different organizational contexts. The following are the research questions that will be analyzed using data collected from primary sources:

Ethical Considerations

It was important to observe various ethical considerations when conducting the research project. One of the most important ethical concerns in this study was to observe high levels of integrity at every stage of the study. The researcher avoided any form of plagiarism in this paper. Any information obtained from secondary sources was properly referenced. Albadri (2013) says that it is an academic offense to reproduce the work of others, and that is why such mistakes were avoided. The researcher also ensured that the identity of the respondents who agreed to take part in the study was protected. The project was completed within the set deadline as per the school guidelines.

Analysis

In this section, the researcher seeks to answer the research questions set and to address the research problems identified in the introduction section. Media richness theory was developed over three decades ago. However, Dainton and Zelley (2014) argue that it has never been more relevant than it is today. Companies currently face challenges when it comes to managing information. On the one hand, the need to have an internal communication system where sharing of sensitive information can be facilitated without exposing vital data to external members is growing. On the other hand, these organizations also find it necessary to engage their customers regularly to understand the changing market tastes and preferences. Other stakeholders such as suppliers and strategic partners also need a highly effective platform where they are able to receive and present information as will be appropriate. This is why this theory sometimes appears as essential. The researcher will analyze each one of these questions in line with the data that has been collected from the respondents.

What
may be the relevance of media richness theory in modern organizations within the United Arab Emirates?

The initial question centered on determining the relevance of media richness theory in modern organizations. The respondents were asked to provide their views predicated on their personal or shared experiences of their workplace. The responses obtained from these participants were analyzed mathematically (calculating the modal) to find out their views towards the problem. The figure below shows the results that has been received from the analysis.

As shown in the figure above, a lot of the respondents (19 out of 20) think that the media richness theory is quite highly relevant to modern organizations in the United Arab Emirates. Only 1 person had a contrary opinion compared to that of almost all. The respondents stated that in today’s business environment, entities need effective communication systems to attain out with their customers. This theory also explains how these businesses can make a crucial decision when choosing appropriate internal communication strategies. It eliminates doubt and justifies explanations why it is sometimes appropriate to select confirmed strategy of communication over others.

How do companies pick the appropriate media to utilize when coping with various stakeholders?

Choosing a proper medium of communication in a organizational setting depends upon various factors in line with the information received from the respondents. Probably the most important factors that must definitely be considered is the market. The approach used when targeting customers might not be exactly the same used when engaging the employee. Each group might need different platforms. Another essential aspect may be the urgency with that your information must be passed to the targeted audience. When an instantaneous response is necessary, then letters might not be appropriate due to the time it might take to get the response. In such cases, phone calls become more reliable. The respondents also noted that the sensitivity of the information might also define the platform that a firm uses. Highly sensitive information and confidential should be communicated using very secure systems that cannot be accessed by third parties. One of the respondents noted that sensitive information in the company is passed through face-to-face communication among the top managers. That approach ensures that secrecy is maintained when sharing confidential information.

What is the effectiveness of various media platforms that a firm should embrace when communicating with different stakeholders?

When choosing media platforms to use when sharing information, the respondents stated that a number of factors have to be considered to ensure that they are appropriate, as discussed above. As emerging technologies change communication platforms, new communication systems are becoming more popular than traditional communication systems. In this question, the researcher identified some of the most popular platforms of communication in the modern business environment. When told to rate various media strategies used in passing information to various stakeholders, the respondents identified the six most popular platforms. Figure 2 below shows these platforms.

The respondents were able to rate a number of media platforms based on their popularity within the firm and how effective they are when it comes to disseminating information to various target groups. As shown in the figure above, Facebook was given the highest rating of all the media platforms. The United Arab Emirates gets the most advanced economy in the centre East, and many people get access to regular the internet. Even though government has restricted some top features of Facebook in the united kingdom, many business entities still contemplate it the most likely channel for communicating with customers. The platform makes it simple to obtain instant feedback from the clients, especially on the services they receive from the business. It is also a highly effective platform when announcing to the clients in regards to a new product that the business has introduced on the market. Using Facebook pages, you’ll be able to create an organizational community for several members of the business where they are able to discuss important conditions that affect them within their workplaces. Members of the city can easily propose means of addressing different challenges that the business faces. It had been given a maximum rating of 5.

Television was among the traditional platfoin the united states, many people still depend on media, especially television, to obtain reliable and verifiable news about various events within the united states and all over the world. Some television entertainment programs such as for example live football matches, soap operas, and movies may also be popular among folks of different groups. As such, the platform is still critical for companies keen on advertising their brand or products within the country. This platform received a high rating of 4 out of 5 among the respondents.

YouTube and Twitter are also gathering popularity in Saudi Arabia. The respondents noted that their company happens to be using both of these platforms to attain out with their customers with promotional messages. YouTube has significantly reduced overreliance on television marketing. Among the advantages that YouTube has over television marketing is that it could reach a broad geographical area. Some of the national television channels can’t be viewed beyond your country, YouTube isn’t suffering from such boundary restrictions. Therefore, this is a very appropriate platform for companies operating in the regional or global markets. Twitter is popular amonst the working class in the united kingdom. It is used when targeting a particular band of customers, especially the middle-class urban dwellers in the united kingdom.

The two social media marketing platforms received a good rating of 3 out of 5 regarding their appropriateness. Radio and newspapers may also be used in the corporation, as noted by the respondents, however they aren’t as popular because they used to be during the past. Radio was presented with a rating of 2 while newspapers had a rating of just one 1 out of five. Both of these media platforms were after the most popular method of reaching out to the clients on the market. However, that is no more the case. Newspapers may be popular among the elderly, but very few young adults currently read newspapers. The popularity of radio as a means of entertainment and sharing information has also reduced significantly. This is caused by the emergence of social media platforms where people can choose the type of entertainment they need. The respondents admitted that in some cases their company considers using these two traditional media platforms.

Discussion

The solution to the Problem

The main problem that companies currently face in information management is choosing the most appropriate media platform that they can use to communicate with different groups of people. As Dainton and Zelley (2014) argue, one platform may be very effective when reaching out to a specific group, but it may not be relevant when handling another group of stakeholders within the firm. For instance, Facebook may be critical when communicating with customers, but it cannot be used to share sensitive information that should remain confidential. On the other hand, face-to-face communication is very reliable when sharing highly confidential information among specific individuals within a firm, but it cannot be used when handling a larger target audience. This is why the media richness theory seeks to handle the issue by defining the requirements and determining the most likely strategy that needs to be used. This theory holds that no media platform could be appropriate in every contexts. The richness of the media depends upon several factors.

The power of the media to simultaneously handle multiple information cues is among the most important factors that certain must consider whenever choosing a platform (Cohen, 2012). It will always be desirable to get a platform that may facilitate both verbal and non-verbal cues. It creates the procedure of communication far better. The second factor may be the ability of the platform to facilitate quick feedback. Communication is known as complete when feedback is received. According to the prevailing forces, sometimes a company may need an instant feedback to look for the path that needs to be taken. Some media platforms can facilitate faster feedback than others. Media richness theory also emphasizes the necessity to develop a personal focus when communicating with the audience. Whenever necessary, the message ought to be tailored to meet the precise requirements of the audience. The last factor is to establish natural language.

Information Solution

The criteria above show how a firm should go about when selecting an appropriate platform for communication under Media Richness Theory. Albadri (2013) advises that information solution should be based on the appropriateness of the media based on the forces that a firm is facing. In Saudi Arabia, cultural forces play a significant role in defining organizational culture. Many organizations are often thinking about avoiding practices that not in favor of government policies and requirements. The federal government has not banned social media marketing platforms such as for example Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. However, there are several applications of these social media marketing platforms, which are banned (Kumar, Dhiman, & Dahiya, 2015). When embracing social media marketing solutions, it is very important to avoid going illegal. Social media marketing has gained massive popularity in the united kingdom, and many companies are actually considering its use as a way of reaching out to a wider audience, especially
the teenagers and young adults. However, organizational practices should be strictly guided by the policies set by the government.

The analysis of primary data also strongly suggests that in many cases, a firm could be forced to embrace a multi-modal approach of communicating with various stakeholders. For example, when informing customers concerning the introduction of a fresh product or promoting a brandname, social media could be the best platform that needs to be used. However, sensitive internal messages shouldn’t be communicated in that platform. Dainton and Zelley (2014) strongly suggest face-to-face communication that guarantees privacy. When it’s extremely hard to facilitate physical interaction, the usage of video-conferencing technologies or calls could be appropriate. The media facilitate sharing of information without allowing usage of third parties. Internal memos are popular when passing general messages to the inner stakeholders, especially employees. However, it will not function as primary method of communicating with internal stakeholders, particularly when passing urgent and important info, because not absolutely all often browse the notices.

Business Implications

The findings of the study have implications to the business enterprise, especially those operating within the United Arab Emirates. The principal data found in this research was collected within the united states. The participants are employees of an area company within the town of Dubai. The findings, conclusion, and recommendations made are, therefore, in line with the local forces within the united states. As Cohen (2012) observes, the town of Dubai is now a significant global business hub. Companies from THE UNITED STATES, Europe, ASIA (especially China and Japan), and several other parts of the planet are moving into the neighborhood market due to the growing relevance of the town. The trend implies that local companies must figure out how to operate in an extremely competitive market.

Managing stiff competition as a result of the existence of large international companies in the neighborhood market isn’t easy. Many of them are financially strong and much more experienced on the market. They often times come having surveyed the marketplace and determined they can acquire a niche if they use the right strategies. In such a highly competitive environment, one of the critical success factors is information management. Knowing how to mine and process data is not enough. The processed data must be made available to the relevant stakeholders at the right time and in the right manner. Local companies need to know how to choose the right methods of communicating with the relevant stakeholders. Media richness theory defines how a firm should choose the appropriate model based on a number of factors.

Management Applications

The findings of this study are crucial to people in management positions. They inform management practices when it comes to selecting communication strategies that should be used. The study reminds managers that no single media can meet all communication needs in an organizational setting. As such, managers need to embrace a multi-modal approach of communicating to its stakeholders. The approach that suits customers may not be appropriate when communicating with the government, shareholders, or employees. The primary goal of managers ought to be to make sure that communication needs are met in the very best manner.

Contributions of the study

According to Cohen (2012), when conducting research, one of the cardinal rules is to ensure that outcome introduces new knowledge or expands the existing ones. It is not appropriate to duplicate already existing information. The findings of this research can be used by other scholars who may be interested in conducting further research on this theory. It is important to note that in this study, primary data was collected within the United Arab Emirates. Most of the books and journal articles available in the library focus on the issue in contexts outside the country. Most of them focus on American or European business environment. However, this research paper is primarily based on the Emirati context. As such, scholars interested in developing further knowledge in this field from a local market perspective will benefit a lot from the document.

Conclusion

The city of Dubai is currently one of the fastest growing business hubs in the world. Many local and international companies consider this city strategic transit route to African and the rest of the world, which is one of the reasons why it has been growing rapidly. The local firms are forced to deal with stiff competition in the market using various strategies. One of the most important management concepts that define the ability of a firm to achieve success in such a competitive business environment is information management. In this information age, organizations are keen on understanding emerging market trends and how they can align their operations with the changing market forces. Once data is collected and processed, it is critical to ensure that the information is passed to the relevant individuals using appropriate channels. Social media has become very popular, especially among the teenagers, young adults, and middle-aged people. It means that this new platform cannot be ignored when a firm is selecting appropriate media to reach its customers. Mass media is also important, especially the television or radio.

Recommendations

Choosing an appropriate media when communicating with various stakeholders may be a challenge to the management. Selecting an appropriate mix of media platforms require a deep understanding of organizational needs, nature of the message being delivered, time within which the message should reach the audience, and the speed with which feedback is needed. The following recommendations is highly recommended by companies operating in the neighborhood Emirati market, especially in the town of Dubai:

References

Albadri, F. (2013). Information systems applications in the Arab education sector . Hershey, PA: Information Science Reference.

Cohen, E. (2012). Issues in informing science and it (vol. 12.), Santa Rosa, CA: Informing Science Press.

Dainton, M. & Zelley, D. (2014). Applying communication theory for professional life: A practical introduction (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.

Gyamfi, A., & Williams, I. (2017). Evaluating media richness in organizational learning . Hershey, PA: IGI Global.

Kumar, S., Dhiman, M., & Dahiya, A. (2015). International tourism and hospitality in the digital age . Hershey, PA: Business Science Reference.

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