CCE Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


College of Computing and Engineering


Ling Wang

Committee Member

Mary Harward

Committee Member

Junping Sun


Social media analytics has been recognized as a distinct research field in the analytics subdomain that is developed by processing social media content to generate important business knowledge. Understanding the factors that influence privacy decisions around its use is important as it is often perceived to be opaque and mismanaged. Social media users have been reported to have low intimate knowledge and co-ownership perception of social media analytics and its information privacy decisions. This deficiency leads them to perceive privacy violations if firms make privacy decisions that conflict with their expectations. Such perceived privacy violations often lead to business disruptions caused by user rebellions, regulatory interventions, firm reputation damage, and other business continuity threats. Existing research had developed theoretical frameworks for multi-level information privacy management and called for empirical testing of which constructs would increase user self-efficacy in negotiating with firms for joint social media analytics decision making.

A response to this call was studied by measuring the constructs in the literature that lead to normative social media analytics and its information privacy decisions. The study model was developed by combining the relevant constructs from the theory of psychological ownership in organizations and the theory of multilevel information privacy. From psychological ownership theory, the impact that intimate knowledge had on co-ownership perception of social media analytics was added. From the theory of multi-level information privacy, the impact of co-ownership perception on the antecedents of information privacy decisions: the social identity assumed, and information privacy norms used were examined. In addition, the moderating role of the cost and benefits components of the privacy calculus on the relationship between information privacy norms and expected information privacy decisions was measured.

A quantitative research approach was used to measure these factors. A web-based survey was developed using survey items obtained from prior studies that measured these constructs with only minor wording changes made. A pilot-study of 34 participants was conducted to test and finalize the instrument. The survey was distributed to adult social media users in the United States of America on a crowdsourcing marketplace using a commercial online survey service. 372 responses were accepted and analyzed. The partial least squares structural equation modeling method was used to assess the model and analyze the data using the Smart partial least squares 3 statistical software package.

An increase in intimate knowledge of social media analytics led to higher co-ownership perception among social media users. Higher levels of co-ownership perception led to higher expectation of adoption of a salient social identity and higher expected information privacy norms. In addition, higher levels of expectation of social information privacy norm use led to normative privacy decisions. Higher levels of benefit estimation in the privacy calculus negatively moderated the relationship between social norms and privacy decision making. Co-ownership perception did not have a significant effect on the cost estimation in social media analytics privacy calculus. Similarly, the cost estimation in the privacy calculus did not have a significant effect on the relationship between information privacy norm adoption and the expectation of a normative information privacy decision.

The findings of the study are a notable information systems literature contribution in both theory and practice. The study is one of the few to further develop multilevel information privacy theory by adding the intimate knowledge construct. The study model is a contribution to literature since its one of first to combine and validate elements of psychological ownership in organization theory to the theory of multilevel information privacy in order to understand what social media users expect when social media analytics information privacy decisions are made. The study also contributes by suggesting approaches practitioners can use to collaboratively manage their social media analytics information privacy decisions which was previously perceived to be opaque and under examined. Practical suggestions social media firms could use to decrease negative user affectations and engender deeper information privacy collaboration with users as they seek benefit from social media analytics were offered.