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A Moderating Role of Channel Responsiveness in the Effects of Online Information Source
Unformatted Document Text:  8 and human-technology interaction are not appropriate to explain interactivity, because machines or technologies only serve as a means of communication. Central to the above concepts of interactivity is responsiveness of communication process. Rafaeli (1988) identified responsiveness as a key element that distinguishes interactivity from other constructs. He held that interactivity (or interactive communication) differs from non-interactivity (or one-way communication) or reactivity (or reactive communication) in that interactivity refers to “the extent to which messages in a sequence relate to each other, and especially the extent to which later messages recount the relatedness of earlier messages” (Rafaeli & Sudweeks, 1997). Deighton (1996) also acknowledged responsiveness as a key element of interactivity and contended that, along with the ability to communicate with an individual, the ability to gather and remember an individual’s response is a critical feature of interactive communication. In face-to-face communication, interactivity was found to result in favorable outcomes on both sender and receiver sides (Burgoon et al., 1999-2000; Burgoon et al., 2001). Although interactivity itself was assumed to be value-neutral, it was expected to enhance interaction involvement, goal salience, message controllability, and mutuality between sender and receiver, which then promote such outcomes as greater productivity, better decision-making, better performance of achieving a communication goal, and more accurate understanding of messages (Burgoon et al., 1999-2000; Burgoon et al., 2001). In the speech communication and language literature, presentation variables, styles, and dynamism of source were found to affect individuals’ acceptance of a message through their influence on perception of source and source attributes (e.g., credibility) (Hamilton, 1998; Slater & Rounder, 1997). This evidence is consistent with findings in the face-to-face communication literature if interactivity, presentation variables, styles, and dynamism are considered as properties of communication interface or characteristics of communication channel. Based on the above literature, we hypothesize that interactivity of an information channel, specifically, responsiveness of a Web site, will moderate the effects of source on

Authors: Kim, Hyojin. and Stephens, Keri.
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and human-technology interaction are not appropriate to explain interactivity, because machines
or technologies only serve as a means of communication.
Central to the above concepts of interactivity is responsiveness of communication
process. Rafaeli (1988) identified responsiveness as a key element that distinguishes
interactivity from other constructs. He held that interactivity (or interactive communication)
differs from non-interactivity (or one-way communication) or reactivity (or reactive
communication) in that interactivity refers to “the extent to which messages in a sequence relate
to each other, and especially the extent to which later messages recount the relatedness of earlier
messages” (Rafaeli & Sudweeks, 1997). Deighton (1996) also acknowledged responsiveness as
a key element of interactivity and contended that, along with the ability to communicate with an
individual, the ability to gather and remember an individual’s response is a critical feature of
interactive communication.
In face-to-face communication, interactivity was found to result in favorable outcomes on
both sender and receiver sides (Burgoon et al., 1999-2000; Burgoon et al., 2001). Although
interactivity itself was assumed to be value-neutral, it was expected to enhance interaction
involvement, goal salience, message controllability, and mutuality between sender and receiver,
which then promote such outcomes as greater productivity, better decision-making, better
performance of achieving a communication goal, and more accurate understanding of messages
(Burgoon et al., 1999-2000; Burgoon et al., 2001).
In the speech communication and language literature, presentation variables, styles, and
dynamism of source were found to affect individuals’ acceptance of a message through their
influence on perception of source and source attributes (e.g., credibility) (Hamilton, 1998; Slater
& Rounder, 1997). This evidence is consistent with findings in the face-to-face communication
literature if interactivity, presentation variables, styles, and dynamism are considered as
properties of communication interface or characteristics of communication channel.
Based on the above literature, we hypothesize that interactivity of an information
channel, specifically, responsiveness of a Web site, will moderate the effects of source on


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