The Social Construction of Meaning: An Alternative Perspective on Information Sharing

Shaila M. Miranda, Carol S. Saunders
2003 Information systems research  
R esearch on information sharing has viewed this activity as essential for informing groups on content relevant to a decision. We propose and examine an alternate function of information sharing, i.e., the social construction of meaning. To accomplish this goal, we turn to social construction, social presence, and task closure theories. Drawing from these theories, we hypothesize relationships among the meeting environment, breadth and depth of information shared during a meeting, and decision
more » ... uality. We explore these relationships in terms of the effects of both the media environment in which the group is situated and the medium that group members choose to utilize for their communication. Our study of 32 five-and six-person groups supports our belief that interpretation underlies information sharing and is necessary for favorable decision outcomes. It also supports the proposed negative effect of low social presence media on interpretation in terms of depth of information sharing; a low social presence medium, however, promotes information sharing breadth. Finally, the findings indicate that when in multimedia environments and faced with a relatively complex task, choosing to utilize an electronic medium facilitates closure and, therefore, favorable outcomes.
doi:10.1287/isre. fatcat:wupblx47rjeghmmtzjbzlcu2x4