A Partial Test of the Task-Medium Fit Proposition in a Group Support System Environment

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)47-66
Journal / PublicationACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1999


A laboratory experiment was carried out to partially test the task-medium fit proposition in a GSS environment. Communication medium was varied using a face-to-face GSS and a dispersed GSS setting. Task type was varied using an intellective and a preference task. Group decision outcome variables of interest were (actual and perceived) decision quality, decision time, decision satisfaction, and decision process satisfaction. With the intellective task, there were no significant differences between face-to-face GSS and dispersed GSS groups for all group decision outcome variables. With the preference task, face-to-face GSS groups performed significantly better than dispersed GSS groups for all group decision outcome variables. These findings suggest that group decision outcomes in a GSS environment tend to be adversely affected when the communication medium is too lean for the task but not when the communication medium is too rich for the task. Consequences of providing groups with too rich and too lean a communication medium for their task are discussed. Implications of these findings, and other related results, for practice and for future revisions of media richness theory are explored.

Research Area(s)

  • Experimentation, Group support systems, Human Factors, media richness, task type, Theory