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Title: Effects of emoticons on the acceptance of negative feedback in a virtual team
Other Titles: Biao qing fu dui xu ni tuan dui zhong fu mian ping jia jie shou du zhi ying xiang
Authors: Zhao, Yi (趙易)
Department: Department of Information Systems
Degree: Master of Philosophy
Issue Date: 2010
Publisher: City University of Hong Kong
Subjects: Virtual work teams.
Communication in organizations.
Teams in the workplace -- Computer networks.
Notes: CityU Call Number: HD66 .Z47 2010
vii, 78 leaves : ill. 30 cm.
Thesis (M.Phil.)--City University of Hong Kong, 2010.
Includes bibliographical references (leaves 62-70)
Type: thesis
Abstract: In virtual teams, delivering negative performance feedback is very common and unavoidable, because it helps improve both individual and team performance. However, due to the negative feedback’s face-threatening nature, people usually feel uncomfortable and become defensive when receiving negative feedback. This problem is especially salient in virtual teams where many effective nonverbal strategies (aka facework) such as smile can not be used to alleviate the face-threats caused by negative feedback. Therefore, this research investigates how to deliver negative feedback effectively to make it more acceptable by virtual team members. Emoticons, surrogates for nonverbal cues, are expected to influence virtual team members' acceptance of negative feedback by extending feedback providers' abilities to conduct nonverbal facework. This research investigates how the use of two types of emoticons (i.e., liking and disliking emoticons) in negative feedback influences virtual team members' feedback acceptance, and how the effects of emoticons are affected by the specificity of the negative feedback. The research is conducted in the context of virtual teams adopting text-based computer-mediated communication. Based on the politeness theory, the feedback process model, and the dissonance reduction theory, it is hypothesized that the use of liking emoticons increases the perceived good intention of the feedback provider and decreases the perceived feedback negativity, only when the feedback is specific; and that the use of disliking emoticons decreases the perceived good intention of the feedback provider and increases the perceived feedback negativity, only when the feedback is unspecific. Perceived good intention of the feedback provider is in turn positively associated with people's feedback acceptance, while perceived feedback negativity is negatively related with the feedback acceptance. A laboratory experiment with a sample of 198 Hong Kong local undergraduate students was conducted to test all hypotheses, and all aforesaid hypotheses are supported by the empirical data.
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