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Abstract

Many emergent ventures, such as social networks, leverage crowd-sourced information assets as essential pillars supporting their business models. The appropriation of rights to information assets through legal contracts often fails to prevent conflicts between the users and the companies that claim information rights. In this paper, we focus on social networks and examine why those conflicts arise and what their consequences are by drawing on psychological contract theory. We propose that intellectual property and privacy expectancies comprise core domains of psychological contracts between social networks and their users. In turn, perceived breaches of those expectancies trigger a psychological contract violation. We use the exit, voice, loyalty, and neglect typology to define the user behavioral outcomes. We evaluated our framework by surveying 598 Facebook users. The data support our framework and indicate that perceived breaches of privacy and intellectual property rights generate the affective experience of a psychological contract violation, which is strongly associated with exit intentions.

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