Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

It is risky business: Three essays on ensuring reliability, security and privacy in technology-mediated settings
by Anderson, Catherine L., Ph.D., University of Maryland, College Park, 2010, 228; 3409866
Abstract (Summary)

Today's interconnected technical environment creates unprecedented opportunities while simultaneously introducing risks. With economic, social and personal interactions increasingly occurring in technology-mediated settings new vulnerabilities are continually being introduced. This dissertation seeks to improve extant understanding of how organizations and individuals respond to such risks and manage the new vulnerability. I develop three essays that variously theorize the antecedents, consequences and implications of the risks imposed by the increased ubiquity of technology. The common thread underlying the studies is that the focal risk is inherently caused by the rapid digitization and dependence on information technology that has permeated economic and social activity.

Essay 1 addresses the increasing dependence of organizations on the reliability of their information technology (IT) infrastructure. I draw on organizational reliability literature to classify IT infrastructure failures and theorize how collective mindfulness can change the way organizations respond to each type of failure. The results support the necessity of examining collective mindfulness at the level of its processes (versus using the omnibus measure) and provide insights into the contingent value of collective mindfulness. I find that mindfulness processes are heterogeneously efficacious for an organization's response to failure depending on the failure type.

Essay 2 synthesizes research from information systems, communication, and psychology to form a conceptual model explicating the role played by type of information requested (general health, mental health, genetic), the purpose for which it is to be used (patient care, research, marketing) and the requesting stakeholder (doctors/hospitals, the government, pharmaceutical companies) in an individual's willingness to disclose personal health information. Further, the model incorporates the impact of emotion linked to one's health condition on willingness to disclose. Results show that emotion plays a significant role in the disclosure decision and suggest that contextual factors related to the requesting stakeholder and the intended purpose of use moderate the relationships between concern and trust on willingness to disclose personal health information.

Essay 3 explores ways to minimize the perception that one is invulnerable to a security violation through an examination of the influence of message cues on computer user security-related optimistic bias and security behavior intentions. I conduct two experiments to understand conditions that minimize the perception that one is invulnerable to a security violation and increase related intentions. Results from experiment 1 confirm an interactive influence of self-view and risk domain frame (social or financial) on security-related intentions. Experiment 2 suggests an interactive relationship between self-view and goal frame on optimistic bias but that influence did not translate into similar changes to intentions.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Agarwal, Ritu
Commitee: Gold, Robert, Gopal, Anand, Lucas, Henry, Mithas, Sunil, Shinogle, Judith, Srivastava, Joydeep
School: University of Maryland, College Park
Department: Business and Management: Decision & Information Technologies
School Location: United States -- Maryland
Source: DAI-B 71/08, Dissertation Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Marketing, Management, Information Technology
Keywords: Collective mindfulness, Empathy gap, IT infrastructure failure, Personal health information, Privacy calculus, Routine failure
Publication Number: 3409866
ISBN: 9781124076355
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