Individuals’ use of safeguards against information security risks is commonly conceptualized as the result of a risk-benefit analysis. This economic perspective assumes a “rational actor” whereas risk is subjectively perceived by people who may be influenced by a number of social, psychological, cultural, and other “soft” factors. Their decisions thus may deviate from what economic risk assessment analysis would dictate. In this respect, a phenomenon interesting to study is that on social network sites (SNSes) people tend to, despite a number of potential security risks, provide an amount of personal information that they would otherwise frown upon. In this study we explore how people’s affect toward online social networking may impact their use of privacy safeguards. Since building social capital is a main purpose of online social networking, we use social capital theory to examine some potential contextual influence on the formation of the affect. More specifically, we adopt the perspective proposed by Nahapiet and Ghoshal (1998), which views social capital as a composite of structural, relational, and cognitive capitals. Preliminary analysis of 271 survey responses shows that (a) a person’s structural and relational embeddedness in her online social networks, as well as her cognitive ability in maintaining those networks, are positively related to her affect toward SNSes; (b) a person’s affect toward SNSes moderates the relationship between her perception of privacy risk and the privacy safeguards she implements on the SNSes.
Wu, Yu "Andy"; Ryan, Sherry; and Windsor, John, "Influence of Social Context and Affect on Individuals' Implementation of Information Security Safeguards" (2009). ICIS 2009 Proceedings. 70.