Face Challenging Perception and Media Feature Preference for The Task of Delivering Bad News: A Cross-Cultural Comparison

Nan Wang, Traci A. Carte

Abstract


Delivering bad news is a frequently occurring, unpleasant and challenging communication task. Literature on bad news communication attributes the challenge of delivering bad news to individuals’ concern about hurting other’s face, a concept originated and dominant in China but applicable to other cultures. As the interactions at the workplace become increasingly computermediated, communication media may be leveraged to deliver bad news. The existing literature offered some insights on technology (including communication media) preference as well as cultural differences in it. However, existing research focused on the technology aspect. This study examines cultural differences in technology preference due to the task aspect. Specifically, focusing on the task of delivering bad news, this study distinguishes between the two mechanisms via which cultural differences may emerge, i.e., task perception (i.e., face challenging perception) and task response (in terms of media feature preference). Data is collected using surveys from clients of a multinational public relations company. Results show that there is no cultural difference (China versus non-China) in face challenging perception, that individuals’ face challenging perception increases their preference for high rehearsability and for less natural symbol sets, and that, holding face challenging perception constant, there is marginally supported cultural difference in the preferences for rehearsability but no difference in the preference for symbol sets. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.

Keywords


Media preference; task-technology/media fit; culture; bad news communication; face concern; task perception; task response; media feature

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Wang, N. and Carte, T. A. (2018). " Face Challenging Perception and Media Feature Preference for The Task of Delivering Bad News: A Cross-Cultural Comparison," Pacific Asia Journal of the Association for Information Systems, 10(2), pp. 1-24.