Anonymity and Group Task-Conflict in GDSS Supported Meetings

Amer Al shishany, Jackson Adams


Understanding how participants of a GDSS (Group Decision Support Systems) meeting perceive anonymity is a vital issue towards improving its outcomes. This paper aims to investigate how participants of a GDSS meeting interact with the anonymity feature to generate task-conflict. Particular investigation emphasis is on the argument that the users of this system can exploit and employ technology in a way that achieves their own purposes. The strategic component of the SIDE (Social Identity model of Deindividuation Effects) theory has been tested within GDSS meeting context. The paper reports on the results of semi-structured interviews conducted with experienced facilitators, technical support experts and users of these applications in real business environment settings. The two GDSS meeting applications investigated in this research are the ‘FacilitatePro’ and ‘MeetingSphere’. The paper findings indicate that members of a GDSS anonymous environment were found to be task-focused, and that the anonymity feature plays a significant role in fostering task-conflict discussions within these meetings. SIDE’s strategic component assumption that anonymous users of CMC (Computer Mediated Communication) exploit and use their hidden identities to achieve personal objectives could not be found and then could not be proven. Depending on this paper’s investigation, it’s suggested that future research needs to investigate ‘Same Time / Different Places’ meeting configuration, which could provide a solution to some of the participants physical proximity concerns and may yield new findings for this type of GDSS supported meetings.


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