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A conceptual foundation for organizational information security awareness

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The current approaches in terms of information security awareness and education are descriptive (i.e. they are not accomplishment-oriented nor do they recognize the factual/normative dualism); and current research has not explored the possibilities offered by motivation/behavioural theories. The first situation, level of descriptiveness, is deemed to be questionable because it may prove eventually that end-users fail to internalize target goals and do not follow security guidelines, for example - which is inadequate. Moreover, the role of motivation in the area of information security is not considered seriously enough, even though its role has been widely recognised. To tackle such weaknesses, this paper constructs a conceptual foundation for information systems/organizational security awareness. The normative and prescriptive nature of end-user guidelines will be considered. In order to understand human behaviour, the behavioural science framework, consisting in intrinsic motivation, a theory of planned behaviour and a technology acceptance model, will be depicted and applied. Current approaches (such as the campaign) in the area of information security awareness and education will be analysed from the viewpoint of the theoretical framework, resulting in information on their strengths and weaknesses. Finally, a novel persuasion strategy aimed at increasing users' commitment to security guidelines is presented.

Keywords: Computer Security; Data Security; Education; Information Systems

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2000-01-01

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