Are we predisposed to behave securely? Influence of risk disposition on individual security behaviours

Warkentin, Merrill and Goel, Sanjay and Williams, Kevin J. and Renaud, Karen (2018) Are we predisposed to behave securely? Influence of risk disposition on individual security behaviours. In: 26th European Conference on Information Systems, ECIS 2018, 2018-06-23 - 2018-06-28.

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    Abstract

    Employees continue to be the weak link in organizational security management and efforts to improve the security of employee behaviors have not been as effective as hoped. Researchers contend that security-related decision making is primarily based on risk perception. There is also a belief that, if changed, this could improve security-related compliance. The extant re-search has primarily focused on applying theories that assume rational decision making e.g. protection motivation and deterrence theories. This work presumes we can influence employees towards compliance with information security policies and by means of fear appeals and threat-ened sanctions. However, it is now becoming clear that security-related decision making is complex and nuanced, not a simple carrot- and stick-related situation. Dispositional and situa-tional factors interact and interplay to influence security decisions. In this paper, we present a model that positions psychological disposition of individuals in terms of risk tolerance vs. risk aversion and proposes research to explore how this factor influences security behaviors. We propose a model that acknowledges the impact of employees’ individual dispositional risk pro-pensity as well as their situational risk perceptions on their security-related decisions. It is cru-cial to understand this decision-making phenomenon as a foundation for designing effective in-terventions to reduce such risk taking. We conclude by offering suggestions for further research.