Perceived information sensitivity and interdependent privacy protection: a quantitative study

Abstract

From a theoretical point of view, previous research has considered information sensitivity in terms of potential negative consequences for someone who has disclosed information to others and that information becomes public. However, making information public could also have negative consequences for other individuals as well. In this study, we extend the concept of information sensitivity to include negative consequences for other individuals and apply it in a quantitative research study. The results prove that the extended concept of information sensitivity leads to a better understanding of privacy-related concepts especially in an interdependent privacy setting. We contribute to theory by defining the extended concept of information sensitivity and by drawing conclusions on how to use it in future privacy research studies.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    In particular, we researched on perceived information sensitivity as a 2nd order construct and also accounted for possible non-linear effects of perceived information sensitivity on the intention of the co-owner to protect the privacy of the original owner

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Appendix

Appendix

Post-hoc analyses: Second-order construct and non-linear effects

Besides the given post-hoc analysis concerning the non-supported hypothesis H1, we also evaluated two other research opportunities:

  1. 1)

    One might consider perceived information sensitivity to be a reflective-formative second-order construct called perceived information sensitivity overall. It would be formative in a way that perceived information sensitivity is caused by perceived information sensitivity for the original owner and perceived information sensitivity for the co-owner. It would be reflective since for both first-order constructs the indicators would reflect the corresponding construct (Hair et al. 2017). Such a second-order construct would also be in line with the conceptualization of perceived information sensitivity, stating that perceived information sensitivity consists of perceived negative consequences for both co-owners and original owners. We checked our research model accordingly and can state that such a second-order construct is valid (weight of perceived information sensitivity for the original owner: 0.573; weight of perceived information sensitivity for the co-owner: 0.686; p value <0.001). Furthermore, the effect of this second-order construct on the dependent variable is positive and significant (beta-coefficient: 0.235; p value <0.01). Future research could therefore use this second-order construct as a starting point to conduct research in that area.

  2. 2)

    The results indicate that perceived information sensitivity for the co-owner becomes less important when perceived information sensitivity for the original owner is high. This calls for the examination of a non-linear quadratic effect: the effect of perceived information sensitivity for the original owner seems to become more important the higher the perception is. However, our results prove that such an effect is non-significant (p value >0.05). Furthermore, such a non-linear effect should be grounded on a strong theoretical basis which is not the case in such a post-hoc analysis (Hair et al. 2017). However, future research could build on this result and think deeper about possible non-linear effects concerning perceived information sensitivity.

Previous research about perceived information sensitivity

Table 4 Previous research about perceived information sensitivity

Previous research about perceived information sensitivity

Table 5 Items used

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Wirth, J., Maier, C., Laumer, S. et al. Perceived information sensitivity and interdependent privacy protection: a quantitative study. Electron Markets 29, 359–378 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12525-019-00335-0

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Keywords

  • Privacy
  • Information sensitivity
  • Communication privacy management theory
  • Interdependent privacy
  • Motivation to comply

JEL classification

  • O33