This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Spreading like wildfire: The impact of communication channel on emotional contagion




Doerr, Alexa

Type of Degree





Affect is a burgeoning area of study in organizational research. However, very few studies to date have examined the impact of communication channel on message interpretation. Research merging these two areas is even more scant. The aim of this study was to examine whether conveyed emotion or communication channel would impact emotion recognition or emotional contagion. In this online study, a sample of 182 participants assumed the role of an organizational newcomer receiving their first communication from their supervisor. Participants were randomly assigned to receive a text, audio, or video message that either conveyed happiness or anger. Compared to anger, happiness resulted in greater emotion recognition and emotional contagion. Findings also indicate that the audio condition resulted in higher emotion recognition and emotional contagion than both the text and video conditions. No significant differences were found between the text and video conditions. Practical implications and future directions are discussed.