Online Compensation Behaviors From a Cognitive Dissonance Perspective: An Examination of Software Downloading in Spain

Online Compensation Behaviors From a Cognitive Dissonance Perspective: An Examination of Software Downloading in Spain

Jean-Philippe Charron (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Madrid, Spain) and Ignacio Redondo (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Madrid, Spain)
Copyright: © 2018 |Pages: 14
DOI: 10.4018/IJEBR.2018100103
OnDemand PDF Download:
No Current Special Offers


Conclusions about factors affecting software piracy are rarely consensual and often rely on student samples. In addition, the actual dilemma faced by software downloaders—whether to pay or not—received little attention in the past. In this paper, the authors suggest an explanation to the compensation dilemma facing software downloaders using the theory of cognitive dissonance. From a survey with more than 10,400 participants, researchers investigate a series of individual characteristics that can potentially differentiate three groups of software downloaders—groups defined by their respective online compensation behavior. One distinctive characteristic for each group of software downloaders is hypothesized and a predictive model is developed. Results suggest that always-paying downloaders are older and that erratic downloaders prefer quality products and engage in more online activities. Authors conclude with a discussion that includes several implications for the software industry.
Article Preview


Innovation drives economic growth and sustains a country’s commercial development. Defending intellectual property rights is vital to promote innovation and creativity and serves as an essential ingredient in market-based economies. Patents, trademarks, and copyrights are the principal legal tools used to establish ownership of creative ideas in their various forms, providing the foundation for generating tangible benefits that accrue to companies, workers, and consumers (U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, 2012). Without legal protection, creators of intellectual property would tend to lose the economic fruits of their work and the motivations to develop additional innovations.

The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) defines “copyright”—or author’s right—as the legal rights that creators have over their literary and artistic works. Creations covered by copyright range from books, music, paintings, sculptures, and films, to computer programs, databases, advertisements, etc. Copyright industries—whose primary purpose is to create, produce, distribute, or exhibit copyrighted materials—deliver significant value to society. Examples of WIPO classified industries within the copyright sector include sound recording studios, motion picture and video businesses, and software publishing firms. These firms are strong economic drivers because they provide a large workforce with higher-paying jobs than average and outpace other sectors in terms of growth and revenues (Siwek, 2014; U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, 2016).

Within the copyright sector, software programming and publishing relies intensively on intellectual property protection, and is a major and growing part of the economy. In the U.S. alone, the software industry directly contributed $564.4 billion to the economy in 2016 (+18.7% over 2014) and employed 2.9 million people, an increase of more than 350,000 US jobs during the last two years. Moreover, for each direct job generated by the software industry, another 2.6 supporting jobs are created throughout the rest of the economy (BSA | The Software Alliance, 2017). The Spanish programming industry boasts proportionally slighter numbers, but remains of particular interest because Spain is the country where this study was conducted. Table 1 allows for a better understanding of the importance and contribution of the software programming industry to the Spanish economy in terms of revenues, size, and workforce (ONTSI, 2017).

Table 1.
Overview of the Spanish software programming industry
Revenues (€ million)5,9686,1286,0626,3377,075
Number of businesses1,4141,5941,8452,2212,574
Number of employees24,78424,31425,16228,36032,152

Note. Adapted from the 2017 Annual Report on the IT, Communications, and Content Sector in Spain [Informe Annual del Sector de las Tecnologías de la Información, las Comunicaciones y de los Contenidos en España 2017] conducted by the Telecommunications and Information Society National Observatory [Observatorio Nacional de las Telecomunicaciones y de la SI], 2017.

Complete Article List

Search this Journal:
Volume 18: 4 Issues (2022): 1 Released, 3 Forthcoming
Volume 17: 4 Issues (2021)
Volume 16: 4 Issues (2020)
Volume 15: 4 Issues (2019)
Volume 14: 4 Issues (2018)
Volume 13: 4 Issues (2017)
Volume 12: 4 Issues (2016)
Volume 11: 4 Issues (2015)
Volume 10: 4 Issues (2014)
Volume 9: 4 Issues (2013)
Volume 8: 4 Issues (2012)
Volume 7: 4 Issues (2011)
Volume 6: 4 Issues (2010)
Volume 5: 4 Issues (2009)
Volume 4: 4 Issues (2008)
Volume 3: 4 Issues (2007)
Volume 2: 4 Issues (2006)
Volume 1: 4 Issues (2005)
View Complete Journal Contents Listing