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Social Science Computer Review ; : 08944393221117456, 2022.
Article in English | Sage | ID: covidwho-1978688

ABSTRACT

Since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, the use of video conferences in professional settings increased rapidly. Here, we examine how individual and situational characteristics jointly predict active behavior in video conferences (i.e., activating one?s webcam, small talk, contacting other attendees) between strangers. We focus on external networking as well as proactive and reactive online networking and social anxiety as individual characteristics and investigate how these interact with social norms (operationalized as proportion of other attendees using the webcam), in predicting our outcome variable active video conference behavior. An online vignette experiment with three conditions (social norms: 25 vs. 75% of other attendees using the webcam vs. offline) was conducted to analyze the self-reported likelihood of active video conference versus active offline behavior. Regression analysis was used to test the hypotheses. Results indicate that external networking is a positive and social anxiety a negative predictor of self-reported active video conference behavior. Furthermore, the likelihood of engaging in active (video conference) behavior differed between the three scenarios, with highest values in the offline scenario and lowest in the online scenario with only 25% of other attendees using the webcam. However, no interaction effects of social norms with social anxiety were found. Overall, the findings suggest that individual differences in networking tendencies and social anxiety and social norms influence active behavior in video conferences independently.

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