Pui Ying Tong

Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



College of Business and Economics



Committee Chair

James R Brown

Committee Co-Chair

Jody L Crosno

Committee Member

Annie Cui

Committee Member

Mark B Gavin

Committee Member

Li Wang


This dissertation examines the growing problem of information overload in the context of marketing channels. Information overload occurs when shared information requires more mental resources to process than the mental resources available to the receiver. This research offers strategies to attenuate information overload and examines the impact of information overload on channel outcomes. Strategic uses of information are proposed and conceptualized as a sender's alteration of information volume, content, and/or timing to assist a receiver in processing information. Hypotheses are developed based on the normative perspective of communication from the organizational communication literature. Data from 244 salespeople are analyzed using structural equation modeling to test the hypotheses. The results suggest that information overload undermines shared understanding, while shared understanding enhances coordination and compliance, and reduces conflict. Post hoc analyses further reveal that the effectiveness of strategic uses of information on information overload is contingent on the task nature and receiver characteristics and that some strategies have a U-shaped relationship with information overload. The major contribution of this dissertation is integrating the paradigms of organizational communication and marketing channels literatures and providing an additional perspective in understanding information sharing in channel relationships. Contrary to conventional wisdom, this paper argues that more information sharing is not necessarily better.