Innovation and Entrepreneurship Research

Under the Radar: User Anonymity in the Design of Organizational Platforms

Mickeler, Maren; Khashabi, Pooyan; Kleine, Marco; Kretschmer, Tobias (2021). Under the Radar: User Anonymity in the Design of Organizational Platforms, Max Planck Institute for Innovation & Competition Research Paper No. 19-17.

Organizational exchange platforms enable efficient allocation and exchange of members’ resources like information, advice or help within organizations. Yet, employee engagement remains a challenge for the success of these platforms. Focusing on the resource seeker-side, we argue that individuals’ seeking behavior is influenced by (a) intangible, psychological costs, and (b) tangible, economic considerations, and suggest that both types of costs are linked to the provision of information on seekers’ identity. By conducting a lab experiment, we alter participants’ costs when seeking resources on a platform. We find that both type of costs reduce individuals’ seeking behavior. While men are chiefly discouraged by economic consequences, females place relatively more emphasis on psychological costs. Our results highlight the facilitating role of user anonymity on platform engagement.

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