This study investigates the characteristics of cellular phone communication and analyzes the relatIonship between the Korean culture and the characteristics of cellular phone communication in South Korea. In order to examine the uses and functions of cellular phone communication, this paper reviews several communication theories such as the uncertainty reduction theory, the uses and gratifications theory, the predicted outcome value theory and the expectancy-value theory. The findings of this study indicate that the cellular phone is becoming a necessity for interpersonal communication because of 3 characteristics, immediate accessibility and control, direct interaction between individuals and constant contact availability. Especially in South Korea, a rapid increase in cellular phone use is occurring because of the growth of desire for direct and immediate contact between individuals passing over the group boundaries (such as family). This increase is based on the growth of individualism, which has increased through the change of personal identity in South Korea. Another characteristic that affects cellular phone use is uncertainty reduction. Lastly, the other characteristic that affects the cellular phone use is an increasing self-opinion value that has influence on increasing the use of cellular phones. As a result, the popularity of cellular phone communication in South Korea is due to an increasing individualism, the tendency of uncertainty reduction, and an increasing self-opinion value.
Key words: Uncertainty reduction theory, uses and gratification theory, interpersonal communication, individualism.
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