Training Organizations for a Digital Marketplace

Corporations, non-profits, and public institutions alike are all concerned with managing their images in online environments. Yet, use of a technology typically preceeds training on effective use of that technology.

National Communication AssociationAt the National Commmunication Association annual convention, researchers are presenting on the issues of conducting business in a global, virtual world. In sum, these papers offer suggestions to organizations for improved participation in a technologized marketplace. Issues raised include the authenticity of an institution’s digital presence; the tendency for employees to use technology to multitask; conflict arising from mediated communication in teams; embarrassing emails; and the growth of flash mobs.

  • Socially Mediated Authenticity
    Edward T. Palazzolo (Arizona State University),  Dawn R. Gilpin (Arizona State University), Nicholas Brody (Univ of Texas, Austin)
    Public institutions are increasingly communicating with their publics in the digital sphere, and have a vested interest in appearing authentic. Institutional Authenticity in social media spaces can be evaluated across four dimensions, proposed by these researchers:
    1. Authority (based upon expertise, a measure of legitimacy)
    2. Identity (based upon voice, a dialectic from genuine to performative)
    3. Transparency (based upon disclosure, a dialectic from open to obstructive)
    4. Engagement (based upon conversation, a measure of interactivity)
  • Being in Two, Three, or Four Places at Once: Managing Impressions in Virtual Meetings
    Caroline Sinclair (Univ of Texas, Austin), Keri Stephens (Univ of Texas, Austin)
    The virtual workplace allows for different types of workplace communication including: (1) the geographically-dispersed team, and (2) people present together, functioning and multitasking using communication technologies.The issue is that virtual work environments allow us to shift focus, feigning presence. This multitasking gives the illusion of being present in multiple places at once, but generally reflects a continuum of participation from “listening” to “full engagement.” I can appear to be present by being responsive, but am I really there?
  • Building Bridges for Global Virtual Teams: An ‘Expanded Channel’ Solution to Conflict
    Gamze Yilmaz (Univ of Texas, Austin)
    Global virtual teams are characterized by miscommunication and poor communication outcomes, resulting in heightened conflict. Issues of conflict are issues of trust. Using the channel expansion theory, conflict might be reduced by creating opportunities for training in online communication strategies and cross-cultural communication.
  • Embarrassing Emails in Organizations: Exploring Online Embarrassment and Identity Management
    Sally Hastings (Univ of Central Florida)
    According to this study, embarrasment in email generally occurs in the form of the “faux-pas.” In particular, the faux-pas takes the forms of the misdirected email or flawed content. Interestingly, embarrassment is felt both by the sender who wrote the email and the recipient, who often feels embarrassed for the sender. However, email does not often provide the opportunity for relationship restoration when embarrassment happens.
  • Flash Mobs: Computer-Mediated Organizations?
    Samara Mouvery (University of Alabama)
    Flash mobs may be able to be characterized as acute, temporary, and isolated organizations. Mobile technology has allowed groups to form and move in unison in the same way that an organization might. The question remains: what can organizations learn about motivation, behavior, and cooperation from the rise of flash mobs?

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