My research focuses on how new media have changed the organizational communication process, the effectiveness of various message and relationship strategies, computer-mediated communication, and the related cognition and behavioral outcomes.
Methodologically, I use both quantitative and qualitative approaches. I am most experienced with experiment, survey, and content analysis. I have also used in-depth interview, focus group, and case study approaches. My strength mainly lies in advanced statistics and modeling. I am experienced with structural equation modeling, factor analysis, regression analysis, multivariate statistics, statistical mediation, latent interaction and quadratic effects. I am also experienced with conditional-process modeling, latent growth modeling and Meta analysis. Moreover, I am adapt with several statistical software tools, including SPSS, Mplus, R and IRT Pro.
I also embraced collaborative work with researchers from other disciplines. I worked as a co-investigator in multiple grants funded by the National Science Foundation and the National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences, with a cumulative grant support of nearly $2 million. Leading one aspect of a larger project, my work focused on the communication and media perspective, examining the socioeconomic impact of an environmental hazard in the human-nature interaction.
I am interested in psychological empowerment brought by social media. I investigate how social media usage empowers users and whether this power transfers into unique behavioral patterns. In particular, my investigation centers on a negative context where users have unsatisfactory experiences with an organization. I argue that perception of power increases an action orientation in the power holder, which transfers into a revenge behavior when users complain about the failure on social media to publicly shame the organization.
I am interested in studying the message strategies and effects in users’ information processing on social media. My past research investigated the message strategies and relationship strategies used by Fortune 500 companies and how they were associated with organizational reputation and brand loyalty. In my continued investigation of the area, I have done experimental studies in which I examined different types of messages organizations use, message interactivity, message valence and how they interacted with each other in drawing attitudinal and behavioral outcomes.
Another of my major research interests crosses over with computer-mediated communication (CMC) and human-computer interactions. I am interested in defining the changes brought by social media to computer-mediated communication literature. I believe social media are unique from the traditional CMC context with a more complicated hierarchy system and multiple players in the human-computer interaction. I argue that a social networking site acted as an information source and an independent social actor. When people interact with organizations on social networking sites, the relationships are established at both the personal level and contextual level. As an extension of this proposition, I am also devoted to examine the communication source attribution on social media. I am particularly interested in inspecting how an individual source (e.g., a message poster) and technology source (e.g., Twitter or Facebook) react upon each other and which source attribution is more salient under certain situations. This research is currently in progress.
I have developed great passion for social media analytics and big data acquisition. I am particularly drawn by the promise of big data in making powerful predictions. I believe this is an area with great potential for conducting meaningful and novel research. I am currently working on project where we look at the negativity effects on Twitter using the data mining approach. We are doing a serious of replication studies in which we compare the “contagiousness” of negative tweets versus neutral or positive ones. This research is currently in progress.