Mitigating response distortion in IS ethics research


S Kwan
K Tam


Response distortion attributable to a variety of human motivations has long been a recognized

problem for behavioral research relying on self reports by individuals. Researchers studying unethical

IS behaviors usually need to solicit self reports because of the secrecy of such behaviors.

Unfortunately, the unethical nature of those behaviors often subject self reports to various response

distortions such as socially desirable responding. This paper discusses the method of psychometric

adjustment for response distortion and empirically examines response distortion due to socially

desirable responding in a software piracy research. The boundary conditions of psychometric

adjustment are then discussed in depth and the use of randomized response technique, an alternative

to mitigate response distortion, in IS ethics research is highlighted.

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