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EMAC 2022 Annual


Published: May 24, 2022


Tam Dinh, Koc University; Nilufer Aydinoglu, Koc University; Zeynep Gürhan-Canli, Koç University


Anonymity is an intriguing construct; while it is prevalent in the online world and pervades communication research, a thorough understanding of how consumers experience and react to anonymity is absent in the consumer behaviour domain. In this paper, we develop a scale which measures consumer attitudes towards being anonymous, adding to extant literature and positioning anonymity more properly in consumer research. Conceptually motivated by the Theory of Planned Behaviour, our scale delineates consumers as the agents of anonymous behaviour. Through six studies, we propose and validate that consumer evaluations of anonymity include both internally focused (freedom and independence subscales) and externally focused (ease and norm subscales) dimensions. Our research offers a more refined conceptualization of consumer anonymity, emphasises the distinction between anonymity and privacy, and explicates the significant implications of anonymity across online and offline contexts, paving the way for future studies in consumer behaviour.