CEC Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award

2015

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Information Systems (DISS)

Department

Graduate School of Computer and Information Sciences

Advisor

Ling Wang

Committee Member

Chuck Huff

Committee Member

Glyn Gowing

Abstract

In some instances, Information Systems and Information Technology (IS/IT) practitioners have been noted to commit privacy violations to Personally Identifiable Information (PII). However, computing exemplars, due to their notable dispositional Hallmark Features of morality, understandings of ethical abstractions, and other components that comprise their virtuous makeups, are theoretically less likely to commit privacy violations to PII. This research attempted to verify if those IS/IT practitioners who identify with some of the Hallmark Features of moral and computing exemplar were less willing to commit privacy violations to PII than were those IS/IT practitioners that did not identify themselves with some of the Hallmark Features of moral and computing exemplars. In order to accomplish this, this research developed and validated two new survey instruments capable of identifying those IS/IT practitioners that were more and less willing to commit unethical privacy violations to PII, and contrast them against some of the Hallmark Features of computing exemplars. The findings of this research supported the conclusion that IS/IT practitioners that identify with some of the Hallmark Features of moral and computing exemplars were less willing to commit privacy violations to PII than were other IS/IT practitioners. Specifically, the results indicated that the most prominent predictor to indicate a lesser willingness to commit privacy violations to PII was that of those IS/IT practitioners that displayed prosocial orientations. Additionally, the predictors of age, level of education, and how ethical IS/IT practitioners assessed themselves to be, proved to be significant markers for those individuals that were less willing to commit privacy violations to PII. While the results are promising, they are also alarming, because the results also indicate that IS/IT practitioners are blatantly willing to commit privacy violations to PII. Thus, two immediate implications resonate from the results of this research. First, there are those individuals that have been given the trusted position of guardianship for society's personal information that should probably not have it, and secondly, further investigations are warranted to determine what other predictors may promote a lesser willingness to commit privacy violations to PII. The contribution of this research to the fields of IS/IT, personnel selection and testing, and organizational assessment and training is unique. This is because, to date, no other discernable literatures have ever investigated the rating and rankings of the severity of PII privacy violations, nor has any other research investigated what Hallmark Features of individuality contribute to a less willing disposition to commit PII privacy violations.

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