A Study of User Continuance Behavioral Intentions Toward Privacy-Protection Practices

A Study of User Continuance Behavioral Intentions Toward Privacy-Protection Practices

Ye Han (Department of Computer Information Systems, Louisiana Tech University, Ruston, LA, USA) and T. Selwyn Ellis (Louisiana Tech University, Ruston, LA, USA)
Copyright: © 2018 |Pages: 23
DOI: 10.4018/IRMJ.2018040102

Abstract

Prior research on privacy protective behaviors has found that online users irrationally trade protection for convenience, and so act against their own privacy preferences. The present article uses expectancy-confirmation theory (ECT) models to explain the continuance behavioral intentions of online users toward privacy-protection practices. It redefines convenience to highlight human behaviors involved in various stages of implementing privacy practices processes. The results show that earlier privacy practice experiences impact the present as well as the future protective behaviors of users, and that convenience-orientation is an important aspect of human nature that should not be inhibited by complex privacy practices. Therefore, to serve online users better, both researchers and practitioners should consider the personal perceptions of convenience of online users when constructing their privacy practices.
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1. Introduction

Many online users have strong opinions on privacy and state their privacy preferences, yet they do not always behave consistently. Online users, holding high levels of privacy preferences, easily forget to protect their privacy information (Berendt, Günther, & Spiekermann, 2005). Why do some of those online users act in ways that are different from their privacy preferences? Prior research focuses on the assessment of online users’ stated privacy preferences. Hong and Thong (2013) demonstrated that the divergent wording of items used to measure privacy preference may lead to the inconsistence between online users’ behaviors and privacy concerns. Online users always show higher levels of privacy concerns that are measured by personal expectations (Hong & Tong, 2013). Expectation measurement suffers from the “talk is cheap” problem, since it costs individuals virtually nothing to desire greater protection for their privacy. In reality, most online users will not act desirably as their privacy expectations.

Ajzen and Fishbein (1977) describes that attitudes have high limitations on predicting human behavior and are only valid for certain individuals and in certain situations. An online user’s privacy preference, as a general attitudinal element, is not compatible with his or her protective behavior related to a certain privacy practice (e.g. password, privacy statement, privacy seals). Furthermore, Ajzen and Fishbein (2005) examined that a specific behavior can be predicted quite well by compatible attitudes toward the behavior. When predicting an online user’s protective behavior, the compatible attitude refers to a user’s attitude toward a specific protective behavior (e.g. the implementation of privacy-protection practices). Unfortunately, no prior research introduces a research model that can explain how online users’ compatible attitudes predict their privacy behaviors.

Motivated by such concerns, this study aims to establish a specific model to indicate the variables that impact online users’ implementation of privacy-protection practices based on their compatible attitudes. The authors’ goal is to contribute to the better understanding of inconsistent privacy behaviors of online users, so that practitioners and researchers can discern how online users measure the effectiveness of privacy-protection practices.

Expectation-confirmation theory (ECT) has already been applied to predict online users’ behaviors toward Information System (IS) which is determined by post-acceptance satisfaction toward IS, perceived usefulness of IS continuance use, and perceived ease of use (Brown, Venkatesh, & Goyal, 2014). This study applies and modifies the ECT models to explain and predict online users’ behavioral intentions of using privacy - protection practices. Prior research also indicates the tradeoff effects between online users’ attitudes toward pursuing convenience and conducting protection behaviors (Kim & Park, 2012). This study contributes a solid review of convenience on online users’ protection behaviors, suggesting that convenience is a personal attribute that cannot be neglected. Furthermore, the current study implicates the construct of self-involvement role rather than complexity as a designing attribute that influences online users’ evaluations of privacy-protection practices. The model also invariantly examined within the narrow sample subjects to demonstrate the moderation effect of information types on the privacy behaviors. The model offers a new perspective to better understanding poor privacy behaviors in favor of consumer-side.

In this paper, the second section conceptually presents the background of ECT models of IS usage and the research model of this paper. Section 3 presents the research methods. The results of the structural equation modeling (SEM) are presented in Section 4. This study concludes with a discussion, implications, and limitations.

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