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Information Resources Management Association
Advancing the Concepts & Practices of Information Resources Management in Modern Organizations

Understanding the Impact of GSS: The Role of Anonymity and Culture

Understanding the Impact of GSS: The Role of Anonymity and Culture
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Author(s): Moez Limayem (City University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong), Mohamed Khalifa (City University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong), John Coombes (City University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong)and Lei Zhu (City University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong)
Copyright: 2002
Pages: 2
Source title: Issues & Trends of Information Technology Management in Contemporary Organizations
Source Editor(s): Mehdi Khosrow-Pour, D.B.A. (Information Resources Management Association, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-930708-39-6.ch161
ISBN13: 9781930708396
EISBN13: 9781466641358


Managers spend a considerable part of their work in meetings, participating in group decisions. Group work, however, is often inefficient and unproductive, suffering from a number of process losses. Inhibition and evaluation apprehension are among the most important problems that are known to hamper the active participation of group members. By allowing anonymous communications, group support systems (GSS) are expected to reduce inhibition and evaluation apprehension. Anonymity is believed to create an environment that improves participation, communication and the objectivity of evaluation of ideas, enhancing in this way the productivity of groups and their decision-making process. However, empirical evidence about the effects of anonymity in GSS is at best inconclusive. Actually, some studies, e.g., George et al. (1990), found that anonymity had no effects on inhibition, group communications and group performance. It is believed that these inconclusive results can be attributed to the fact that the effects of anonymity might depend on some contextual and group factors such as the degree of evaluation apprehension and conformance pressures of group members (Pinsonneault & Heppel, 1998).

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