Academic journal article Communications of the IIMA

Media Selection and the Imposter Phenomenon: A Multinational Investigation

Academic journal article Communications of the IIMA

Media Selection and the Imposter Phenomenon: A Multinational Investigation

Article excerpt


Information systems researchers have long been interested in the motivations that drive individuals to choose particular media to send messages. A number of theories of media selection exist; many of which seek to identify a fit between characteristics of a task, characteristics of the sender and characteristics of the media. Both the popularization of the internet, as well as the more recent trend toward mobile computing, have led to substantial changes not only in the media options that communicators have, but also the characteristics of the communication tasks that individuals face (Furner & George, 2012). Not surprisingly, this has led to a renewed interest in media selection among information systems researchers.

We apply the imposter phenomenon, hereafter referred to as imposterism, in order to better understand the decisions one might make when choosing a media. Imposterism is an emerging area of study in organizational research that refers to, "an internal experience of intellectual phoniness in high achievers who are unable to internalize their successful experiences" (Bernard, Dollinger, & Ramaniah, 2002, p. 321). This phenomenon has been shown to have an influence on a variety of work related outcomes, such as stress associated with failure (Fried-Buchalter, 1992), fear of being discovered as an imposter (Clance & Imes, 1978) and a lack of self-confidence about one's capabilities that leads to a hindrance of achievement (Clance & O'Toole, 1987). Although imposterism has been studied by psychology researchers for some time, its influence on work and communication behaviors has only recently garnered the attention of management researchers (Bernard et al., 2002). Oddly enough, although the imposter phenomenon promises to influence a variety of information systems usage outcomes, an exhaustive literature review conducted in 2013 turned up no studies linking imposterism to information systems, nor communication outcomes. This study seeks to fill this gap by investigating the effect of imposterism on media choice. Media choice is influenced by a variety of individual level personality factors (Giordano & Furner, 2009), and that this choice changes when an individual attempts to deceive (Furner & George, 2012). Since individuals who consider themselves to be imposters are motivated to portray themselves as qualified or experts (Clance & Imes, 1978), their communication seeks to create a false impression in their coworkers. This deception satisfies the contemporary definition of deception (Bond & Robinson, 1988). Similar to how media choice differs for those who engage in deception, we posit that media choice will differ for those who consider themselves to be imposters.

Similarly, espoused national culture has been shown to influence media choice when an individual wants to deceive (Furner & George, 2012); however, an exhaustive search did not identify any research that has investigated the influence of espoused national culture on media choice in other contexts. By exploring cultural determinants of media choice for imposterism, we extend media choice literature in a new and increasingly relevant context. This is particularly relevant, given the recent trend toward globalization and multicultural workforces (Grimm & Smith, 1997) and in light of literature, which suggests that expatriates experience the imposter phenomenon (Piedmont & Chae, 1995). Therefore, our research addresses the ways in which espoused national culture influence media choice for imposters.


Media Selection

Communication researchers have long sought to maximize the effectiveness of media for transmitting messages (Ochsman & Chapanis, 1974). Daft and Lengel (1986) proposed the first of the media selection "fit" theories, positing a media is most effective when the characteristics of that media suit the requirements of the message. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.