Communication and Media Richness Assurance in High-performance Projects

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In Communication, the term media richness (or information richness) refers to the amount of information a medium is capable of transmitting per given time unit.



With a plethora of available communication tools and often high degrees of freedom in their timing, choosing the right tool at the right time is non-trivial. Depending on the choice of tools and timing, results will vary from excellent through acceptable to undesired. However, as no universally successful recipe exists for ensuring positive outcomes, having a good understanding of the various communication options and their attributes will increase chances of making rational decisions accumulated and translating in turn into complex, fit-for-purpose solutions.

This article seeks to help project practitioners gain awareness of different communication tools and timing from a multi-disciplinary perspective. Disciplines covered are human biology, psychology, mathematics, linguistics and culture, with use of case studies and best practice. The diverse angles on the topic are interweaved to bring a unified, in-depth understanding of the topic aiding practitioners to achieving better results in their practical application in project implementations.

A key concept discussed throughout the article is Media Richness Theory (MRT), or Information Richness Theory. MRT describes how various communication media, such as face-to-face interaction and email correspondence, have different characteristics in terms of their information capacity and transfer rate, notable advantages and disadvantages and situation-based use cases.

Based on MRT, three case studies will be discussed to analyse chosen tools and methods in relation to project outcomes. Conclusions from the case studies will guide the final article recommendations.


Organisations rely on communication to successfully complete tasks (typically organised in projects) and fulfil purposes. Since success is typically measured on a linear scale, any overall project success could be considered the sum of a series of intermediary successes. Project purpose fulfilment thus quite simply relies on apt stakeholder communication on a continuous basis throughout the project lifecycle.

In high-performing projects, the effectiveness of this communication becomes vital not only for accuracy but also speed; things need to happen both precisely and quickly, allowing superb optimisation of project resources. Given the importance of communication in projects, the question is ‘how does one go about it?’. Linking this to communication, in order to achieve a high level of ultimate communication success project managers should

securing consistently lossless or low-loss communication is key to achieving a success.

Depending on how effective the applied communication is,

are established

Any organisation dealing with projects has to

just as Daft and Lengel put it that 'orgs are bombarded, and it is a difficult task'. [1]




Table of Contents

The article is divided into sub-sections, each adding their angle and contribution to the main topic:

1) Human nature: Human beings have the inherent abilities of communicating and cooperating with each other. This section gives basic biological and psychological understanding and provides historic information on how communication has helped humans through history to achieve various results.

2) Information channels: outline of each of the key 5-10 methods of communicating (incl. face-to-face conversation, video conferencing, telephone call, internet chat, email, text messaging), and comparison/contrasting of advantages/weaknesses.

3) Case studies: A comparison/contrast between three similar real-life projects, where outcomes in terms of project success could be classed respectively as poor, OK and good.

4) Situation-based opportunities and challenges: A look at which factors to a given degree could either boost or compromise project proceedings. This list could be endless, so the most appropriate few will be selected later as the article starts to take shape.


  1. Richard L. Daft, Robert H. Lengel (1983). Information Richness: A New Approach to Managerial Behavior and Organization Design. Texas: Department of Management, Texas A&M University, [Online], p.1 Available at: [Accessed 20 February 2019]
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