The effects of certainty and uncertainty markers on how managers are perceived.

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This article examines the effects of certainty and uncertainty markers on how a manager’s quality is perceived in written communication. This quality is divided into four variables which are authoritativeness, sociability, competence, and trustworthiness. An email sent out by a manager was manipulated into three different versions. The emails containing certainty markers and uncertainty makers were compared with an email without markers. For the perception of authoritativeness, we expected that uncertainty markers would have a negative effect and certainty markers a positive effect compared to no markers. The perception of sociability was expected to be positively affected by uncertainty markers and negatively by certainty markers compared to no markers. Furthermore, a manager was expected to be perceived as more competent when using certainty markers and less competent when using uncertainty markers compared to no markers. Lastly, we predicted that trustworthiness would be positively influenced by certainty markers and negatively by uncertainty markers compared to no markers. However, none of the hypotheses were supported. The study indicated that the perception of a manager’s authoritativeness, sociability, competence, and trustworthiness was not affected by the use of certainty and uncertainty markers.
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