The Influence of Social Presence on User-to-user Support Procedures
Walter N, Katschewitz S, Köffer S, Ortbach K, Niehaves B
More and more companies allow users to bring their own IT devices to the workplace. As a result, an increased heterogeneity of hard- and software makes it challenging to deliver central IT support. Therefore, employees might increasingly rely on the help of their colleagues. In such a user-to-user support scenario, traditional communication media such as text chat and telephone are used. In this context, we set out to investigate the effects of social presence, i.e. the feeling of human warmth, in a laboratory experiment. While this feeling of human contact is assumed to be important in an increas-ingly digitized world, our findings could not confirm this hypothesis. In contrast to the media richness theory, our study shows that audio compared to text chat has no impact on social presence and no subsequent effect on trust. However, we could confirm the relationship of social presence on enjoy-ment and show that trust leads facilitates information gathering. Our findings may be limited due to the use of an answer script of the human support playing a colleague as counterpart for the partici-pants. We relate our shortcomings to theory and provide potential avenues for future experimental studies on user-to-user support.
user-to-user support; individual information systems; social presence; enjoyment; trust