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EMAC 2022 Annual

Mediated communication and the impact on frontline employee learning

Published: May 24, 2022


Anne Cordts, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT); Martin Klarmann, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT); Johannes Habel, University of Houston


As a result of Covid-19 pandemic, advances in interaction technologies call into question the traditional assumptions of interactions between frontline employees and customers. Mediated communication formats such as chat and video conferencing are increasingly used. How does mediated communication impact frontline employee learning? This study examines how well different communication media enable frontline employees to learn about their counterparts and their experiences. The main contribution is that frontline employee learning depends on the chosen communication medium, (i.e. the richness of conveyed information). Among others, our study identifies chat as the inferior communication media. Additionally, we found evidence that as media richness decreased (In-person > Video > Chat), the ease of perspective taking decreased. Our data supports that the knowledge of the conversation partner’s service experience (task-related knowledge) is not constrained by the communication media.