Author(s), Title and Publication

Stephens, K. K. (2012). Multiple conversations during organizational meetings: Development of the multicommunicating scale. Management Communication Quarterly, 26(2), 195-223.


This study explored how people use mobile devices to communicate with others during organizational meetings. Based on Rennecker, Dennis, and Hansen’s (2010) qualitative dimensions of people’s instant messaging behavior in meetings, this study developed a Meeting Multicommunicating Scale (MMS), which consists of six factors: 1) attending to meetings (improve self-understanding of meeting content), 2) providing focal task support (improve others’ understanding of meeting content), 3) providing social support (encourage or give advice to others before bringing up a point), 4) participating in parallel or background meetings, 5) influencing meetings (changing others’ opinions in meetings), and 6) being available to others  (discussing topics unrelated to meetings).

This study tested the scale with a small sample of 92 employees in various organizations, and a larger sample of 290 college students who are members of student organizations. The results refined the six factors into five factors, and concluded that during meetings people mainly use mobile devices to influence meetings, support others, participate in parallel meetings, seek clarification of meeting content (combining attending to meeting and providing focal task support), and maintain availability to others.

Implications for Practice

This model may help organizations better understand employees’ mobile devices use behavior during meetings. To reduce mobile devices usage during meetings, the organizer may want to explain content clearly, and encourage employees to express opinions.

Location of Article

The article is available online at: (abstract free, purchase full article)

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Heidy Modarelli handles Growth & Marketing for IPR. She has previously written for Entrepreneur, TechCrunch, The Next Web, and VentureBeat.
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