Media Naturalness and Compensatory Adaptation: Counterintuitive Effects on Correct Rejections of Deceitful Contract Clauses
IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication
Research problem: Deciding whether to accept or reject contract clauses in software purchasing contracts is a complex communication-related task, which is likely faced daily by a multitude of software purchasing professionals in a variety of organizations. Research question: What are the effects of viewing contract clauses as video clips, compared to viewing clauses as text only, in terms of cognitive effort, communication ambiguity, and correctness in the acceptance or rejection of clauses in software purchasing contracts? Literature review: The literature on the Media Richness and Media Naturalness theories suggest that viewing contract clauses as video clips should reduce cognitive effort and communication ambiguity. However, while Media Richness theory suggests that correctness in the acceptance or rejection of clauses in software purchasing contracts should increase with the use of video clips, Media Naturalness theory suggests a neutral overall effect. Methodology: An experiment was conducted in which student participants were asked to either accept or reject 20 clauses from a software contract, placing themselves in the position of buyers. Of the 20 clauses, 6 were intentionally deceitful and potentially harmful to the buyer. Approximately half of the participants reviewed the contract clauses as web-based text, and the remaining as web-based video clips. Results and conclusions: Viewing contract clauses as video clips was associated with significantly less cognitive effort and less communication ambiguity than viewing the clauses as text only. Counterintuitively, increases in perceived cognitive effort and communication ambiguity were associated with more successful identification and rejection of deceitful contract clauses. The combination of these competing effects led to an overall neutral effect of the medium on the correctness in the acceptance or rejection of clauses. These findings are consistent with expectations based on Media Naturalness theory, particularly its compensatory adaptation proposition, and inconsistent with expectations based on Media Richness theory.
Kock, Ned; Carmona, Jesus; and Moqbel, Murad, "Media Naturalness and Compensatory Adaptation: Counterintuitive Effects on Correct Rejections of Deceitful Contract Clauses" (2015). Business Faculty Publications. 68.