Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Online privacy sensitivity and gender: A case study of a highly -educated adult population
by Clifford, Brian Patrick, Ph.D., Capella University, 2008, 123; 3336862
Abstract (Summary)

Individual privacy is an increasingly significant concern. However, some individuals do not seem to be concerned with protecting their own personally identifiable information when they are on the Internet while others appear to be hypersensitive when asked to provide even the most generic data. In the last several years, legislation has been enacted to assist in managing the collection and misuse of personal information; yet, a large segment of the population is still very concerned about the unauthorized release or misuse of their personally identifiable information. The problem is of broad interest to businesses with online sales sites, to marketers, to companies with other online presences, and to the academic and research communities. This study will help to identify privacy sensitivity levels as they manifest in different segments of the research population. Various attitudinal items and demographic characteristics will be studied. There are conflicting studies that deal with privacy sensitivity in the current literature. For instance, in regards to gender and privacy sensitivity, some studies find that there are no differences in levels of privacy while others find that gender is a factor in a person's level of privacy sensitivity. This study will provide a foundation of solid research that will address these discrepancies. It has not been definitively determined whether women are more concerned about privacy and whether they have a higher privacy sensitivity level in regards to sharing information online than to males. Previous research has not found a conclusive answer to this issue. This quantitative case study uses a survey to measure individuals' online privacy sensitivity and draws comparisons with various demographic factors including gender and level of education. Four research questions are answered in the study. The population used for this study is a very highly educated group of research scientists, support staff, and administrative staff within one of four unique University Affiliated Research Centers in the United States. These people solve complex problems associated with our nation's security; this interesting study looks not at their global view of privacy, but at their individual views and how they react on a personal level.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Rovira, Margarita
Commitee: Balch, David E., Goldberg, Edward M.
School: Capella University
Department: School of Business
School Location: United States -- Minnesota
Source: DAI-A 69/11, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Marketing, Mass communications, Gender studies
Keywords: Gender, Individual privacy, Online privacy, Privacy, Privacy sensitivity, Quantitative study
Publication Number: 3336862
ISBN: 978-0-549-91293-4
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