Date of Award
Master of Science
Department of Systems Engineering and Management
Michael G. Morris, PhD
A group support system (GSS) uses a combination of networked personal computers, software that collects, manipulates, and aggregates member's individual input, and human facilitation to improve the group decision-making process. A GSS has been promoted as a means of improving the quantity and quality of ideas within a decision-making meeting. Research into GSS has focused on the benefits of providing anonymity to improve participation. Anonymity in a GSS meeting has been offered as a means to improve participation, which in turn improves decision quality. To date this has not been proven through research. In fact, there is conflicting evidence as to what the actual effects of anonymity are. Research in social psychology provides a possible explanation for the conflicting results of the effects of anonymity. An individual's personality characteristics can affect how they participate in a decision-making meeting. The study examined how an individual's personality type and varying degrees of anonymity influence individual participation in a GSS meeting. The results of the study suggest personality characteristics have a significant impact on participation within a GSS supported meeting. Further, the results suggest personality and its interaction with anonymity has a positive effect on participation for some individuals, but not all. Consistent with most prior GSS studies, the results suggest anonymity does have a positive effect; however, this effect was significant only for certain personality traits.
DTIC Accession Number
Hartmann, Robert E., "Influence of Personality Type and Anonymity on Participation in a Group Support System" (2001). Theses and Dissertations. 4624.