Emotional Contagion in Computer Mediated Communication

By Michael J. Hine, Steven A. Murphy and Vinita Ambwani.

Published by The Organization Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This paper examines the potential for emotional contagion to occur in a dyadic electronic task. Emotional contagion occurs when one person influences the emotional state of another through either conscious or unconscious induction. Emotional contagion has been studied extensively in face-to-face settings but has been under-explored in computer-mediated environments. Some computer-mediated communication studies have determined that the content of electronic messages can contain both cognitive and emotional information and that an individual’s attributions, decisions, and judgments are influenced by both emotion and cognition. This paper explores emotional contagion in a relatively mundane programming task using an experimental design. Research confederates (playing the role of fellow students) communicated electronically with research participants (undergraduate business students) using text that was either emotionally positive or negative. Using experience sampling we found that both positive and negative emotional states of research participants can be influenced through the conscious expression of emotionally encoded text.

Keywords: Computer Mediated Communication, Contagion, Emotion

International Journal of Knowledge, Culture and Change Management, Volume 10, Issue 6, pp.149-164. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 744.408KB).

Dr. Michael J. Hine

Associate Professor, Sprott School of Business, Carleton University, Ottawa, ON, Canada

Michael J. Hine is Associate Professor of Information Systems in the Sprott School of Business at Carleton University. He does research in computer mediated communication and Information Technology Service Management and has published in journals such as: Journal of Management Information Systems, Communications of the ACM, Data Base, Electronic Markets, and Group Decision and Negotiation among others.

Dr. Steven A. Murphy

Associate Dean, Sprott School of Business, Carleton University, Ottawa, ON, Canada

Steven Murphy is Associate Dean (Research and Graduate Programs) and Associate Professor in the Sprott School of Business in Ottawa, Canada. His research involves applying behavioral and social psychological concepts into other academic realms. In particular, he has applied business concepts to practices in design, the fine arts and theatre. Human emotions form the pillar of Steven's research, and he has examined them in relation to corporate boards, computer mediated communication and the leader-follower dyad.

Vinita Ambwani

PhD Candidate, Management, Carleton University, Ottawa, ON, Canada

Vinita Ambwani is a PhD candidate in management at the Sprott Business School, Carleton University in Ottawa. Ms. Ambwani has several years of industry experience and has taught courses in Marketing, Finance and International Business areas as an Assistant Professor at Mount Allison University of Canada. Ms. Ambwani holds an MBA from Baruch College, CUNY, NY in the USA and an MS in Physics from Bhopal University, India. Her current research interests include minority and immigrant populations as workers in host countries and she has authored research papers that have been accepted at the Academy of Management conference and Administrative Sciences Association of Canada.

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