University of Twente Student Theses


Honest behavior and perceived anonymity in online environment

Livaniou, Niki (2020) Honest behavior and perceived anonymity in online environment.

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Abstract:This paper focuses on the honest behavior of people online. It covers the factors that influence this behavior while giving a key role to the concept of perceived anonymity that people have while being online. The goal is to investigate what influences the dilemma that humans face while choosing between acting honestly or acting dishonestly. The research considers plenty of factors that influence the honest behavior of people; such as supervision and monitoring, social pressure and physical presence of others. Based on the desk research performed, the background theories are divided into categories; general aspects causing dishonest behavior, anonymity, technology and human interaction, socially accepted and social presence and monitoring and supervision. Next, the experiment is performed and described. Four questionnaires were created, distributed and were answered by 843 people. The first questionnaire served as the control group and the next three included one factor that is manipulated in order to conclude on whether there is a significant relationship between supervision, social pressure, physical presence and honest behavior. Analysis of the results was performed by SPSS. The results showed that the physical presence of others can influence the behavior of people towards being more honest, while the suggestion of supervision and the social pressure is not proven to be significant to influence it. The factor anonymity was the main topic of this thesis and it is also proven to be significant to influence honest behavior. For instance, the people who were anonymous were 14 times more likely to engage in a dishonest act comparing to those who stated their name. Limitations such as the difference between an online and an offline environment, the sample size and financial issues should not be ignored.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:70 social sciences in general, 77 psychology, 85 business administration, organizational science, 88 social and public administration
Programme:Business Administration MSc (60644)
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