By Felipe Korzenny

As mediated communications increase in their importance, the question of how cultural differences may influence how people relate to each other in mediated situations becomes salient. Some time ago I published “A Theory of Electronic Propinquity” which basically states that the degree to which people are comfortable communicating via phone, teleconference, etc., varies with the degree to which there is a feedback mechanism in the channel, the complexity of the information being communicated, the skills of the communicators, the rules imposed on the communication, and the availability of alternative channels for communication that may be preferred over the current choice. A colleague Joe Walther at Michigan State University has done important research on the theory, but no one has done a cross-cultural comparison.

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