Topic: Organizational Assimilation and Communication Technology

Author(s), Title and Publication

Waldeck, J. H., Seibold, D. R., & Flanagin, A. J. (2004). Organizational Assimilation and Communication Technology Use. Communication Monographs, 71(2), 161-183.


This study investigated the nature of organizational assimilation, and employees’ use of three types of communication tools in information seeking to reduce assimilation or socialization uncertainty. The three tools were face-to-face communication, traditional technologies (e.g., handbooks and telephone conversations), and advanced communication and information technologies (ACITs). More than 400 employees from four organizations (two hotels, a Central Bank, and a County Association of Realtors) in the western United States were surveyed regarding their communication channel selection and use, perceptions of ACIT richness/social presence, and perceived assimilation effectiveness.

Face-to-face communication was the most important predictor of assimilation effectiveness, followed by ACITs, while traditional technologies appeared to be the least predictive factor. Employees’ perceptions of media richness and social presence contributed significantly to their selection of ACITs. Participants reported that ACITs were appropriate for communication tasks requiring a high degree of social presence, for example, exchanging confidential information, negotiating/bargaining, getting to know someone, generating ideas, resolving disagreements, and making decisions.

Implications for Practice

Communicators should assess new technologies and new media to supplement and support employee onboarding programs, and to balance that use with frequent face-to-face communication.


Location of Article

The article is available online at:

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

Leave a Reply