Beyond media richness: An empirical test of media synchronicity theory

Alan R. Dennis, Joseph S. Valacich, Cheri Speier, Michael G. Morris

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

75 Scopus citations


One widely accepted theory on media use is media richness theory. However, media richness theory was developed without consideration of new electronic media and the many social factors that can influence media selection, communication processes, and outcomes. Recent empirical investigations have raised questions about media richness theory's applicability to these new media. Therefore, this paper presents a new theory called media synchronicity theory (MST) which proposes that all tasks are composed of two fundamental communication processes (conveyance and convergence). Thus, communication effectiveness is influenced by matching the media capabilities to the needs of the fundamental communication processes, not aggregate collections of these processes (i.e., tasks) as tested in examinations of media richness theory. A laboratory experiment was conducted to provide an initial investigation into the theoretical underpinnings of MST. This study examined the influence of different media on conveyance and convergence effectiveness. Results from this study provide preliminary support for the concepts embodied in MST.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)48-57
Number of pages10
JournalProceedings of the Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences
StatePublished - 1998
EventProceedings of the 1998 31st Annual Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences. Part 1 (of 7) - Big Island, HI, USA
Duration: Jan 6 1998Jan 9 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Computer Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Beyond media richness: An empirical test of media synchronicity theory'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this