A conceptual framework of anonymity in Group Support Systems

Joseph S. Valacich, Leonard M. Jessup, Alan R. Dennis, J. F. Nunamaker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

79 Scopus citations


As the development and use of automated systems for collaborative work grows, the need for a better understanding of these systems becomes more important. Our focus is on one type of system, a Group Support System (GSS) and, in particular, on one important aspect of a GSS-anonymity. A conceptual framework for the study of anonymity in a GSS is presented, which describes the general classes of variables and their relationships. These variables include the factors that influence anonymity in a GSS, types of anonymity, and the effects of anonymity on a message sender, receiver, group process, and outcome. Each of these variables is discussed with working propositions presented for important group process and outcome measures. The objectives of this article are to highlight the importance and complexity of anonymity, to act as a guide for empirical investigations of anonymity, and to influence future GSS development and use.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)219-241
Number of pages23
JournalGroup Decision and Negotiation
Issue number3
StatePublished - Nov 1992


  • anonymity
  • computer-supported collaborative work
  • group decision making
  • group problem solving
  • group support systems

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Decision Sciences
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • General Social Sciences
  • Strategy and Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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