The medium isn’t the message : Introducing a measure of adaptive virtual communication
Media use can be considered as an integral part of virtual communication and thus of present-day human interaction. Nevertheless, research on media use and effects still largely relies on laboratory experiments, treating it as a stable input condition, rather than as a function of human appropriation. In this study, we propose a conceptualization of virtual communication as a dynamic construct dependent on media appropriation, particularly of compensatory adaptation processes. Using longitudinal data gathered from 165 individuals, nested in 34 project teams, we explore compensatory adaptation as a function of communication intensity and physical media richness and develop a continuous score of virtual communication accounting for these compensatory processes. Multilevel analyses demonstrate a significant influence of this communication measure on team performance, increasing over time. These results are discussed with regards to their implications for theories of media use and effects and their relevance for real-life communication processes.