Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Communication and Information

Major Professor

Virginia W. Kupritz

Committee Members

John W. Haas, Laura E. Miller, Martha W. Keel


Organizations are increasingly implored to engage in communicative accommodation based on employees’ generational cohort. While previous research has found generational differences in workplace values, empirical evidence has not supported the popular claim that younger generations prefer more technological communication than their older colleagues. Using media richness theory (MRT), social presence theory (SPT), and channel expansion theory (CET) as a framework, this dissertation analyzes the responses of 382 Net Generation-aged (18-27 years old) participants to questions related to communication channel preference, information type, channel familiarity, and productivity/counter-productivity at work. Significant differences were found between communication channels across five types of common workplace information, with face-to-face being the most preferred channel for the Net Generation in four out of five information categories. Bivariate regressions revealed strong linear relationships between the productivity of a communication channel and participants’ self-reported task completion,morale, stress, and trust levels.

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