The Influence of Emoticons in Virtual Team Communications

Project: Research

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Emoticons, which are pictographs used to surrogate nonverbal expressions of communicators, have been increasingly popular in online communications. This research focuses on the use emoticons in virtual teams. Owing to human beings’ tendency to protect their faces (i.e., the public self-image), people are usually reluctant to accept negative feedbacks, especially in virtual teams where many non-verbal strategies (e.g., smile) can not be used to alleviate the face-threats caused by negative feedbacks. Based on the politeness theory and the feedback process model, we will investigate how the use of four types of emoticons (liking, disliking, submission, and dominance emoticons) in a negative feedback influences recipients’ acceptance of the feedback by affecting recipients’ perceived good intention of the feedback provider, their perceived negativity of the feedback, and their perceived expert power and coercive power of the feedback provider. A laboratory experiment will be conducted to test our hypotheses.


Project number7002531
Grant typeSRG
Effective start/end date1/04/1016/04/13