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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1860/2930

Title: Why gender matters in CMC: gender differences in remote trust and performance with initial social activities
Authors: Sun, Xiaoning
Keywords: Information science;Communication -- Sex differences;Communication -- Social aspects
Issue Date: 22-Dec-2008
Abstract: Gender effects in face-to-face and virtual communications are well known in the discipline of communication studies. However, less attention has been paid to the effects of gender on carrying out complex, collaborative tasks in virtual environments, mediated by modern communication media. The primary objective of this research is to explore gender differences in synchronous computer-mediated communication (CMC) with and without initial social activities. In particular, it aims to investigate whether exposure to pre-task social activities before doing a task can help males, who tend to be less trusting, overcome the trust barrier. This research combines theories and empirical findings from a wide range of disciplines, including CMC, gender, trust and communication. One hundred and twenty four participants who did not previously know each other were recruited to form homogeneous pairs, male-male and female-female. Each pair carried out a competitive task via Instant Messaging (IM), either with or without pre-task social chat. The results from both quantitative and qualitative analyses indicate that female pairs had high levels of trust and more collaborative behaviors than male pairs in doing the task. In addition, females’ collaborative conversational style focusing on harmonious relationships put them in a position to achieve trust in the communication. The results also suggest that initial social chat prior to beginning work helps remote team members build trust in the communication. But that initial social chat is more effective in female dominated groups. The results have implications for research and practice of establishing higher levels of trust among remote workers who have to communicate via low-end media. In addition, this research will add to the small, but growing body of literature on the effects of group gender composition on performance outcomes. It will also benefit designers understanding emoticon usage patterns and developing design criteria for creating usable and useful interactive chat systems that support trust of both genders.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1860/2930
Appears in Collections:Drexel Theses and Dissertations

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