Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy
This dissertation involved the development of a new construct, perceived privacy breach (PPB), to evaluate how a person perceives breaches of privacy in terms of whether they perceive any exchange of information was fair or not and how they believe it will impact people whose information has been shared. This instrument assists researchers to understand how a person perceives a possible breach of privacy. The PPB instrument was created after conducting a pilot study of approximately 200 undergraduate students and testing the data for possible dimensions in an Exploratory Factor Analysis (EFA). The EFA resulted in a concise 14 item questionnaire with three dimensions: dispersion, fairness, and impact. The PPB instrument was utilized in a larger study with 285 participants after a small pilot test (n=27) to study the impact of perceptions of privacy preaches upon a person's level of concern for his or her own privacy and the effect it has on their trust in organizations to protect their privacy in relation to their usage of Internet search engines. It also studied how the combination of perceptions of privacy breaches, general privacy concern, and trust had an impact on a person's anxiety and decision to continue using online search engines. The study also theorized that a person's concern for privacy and use of search engines might result in cognitive dissonance, which might have an effect on the way people think about privacy issues. The model was analyzed using a two step process. First a confirmatory factory analysis (CFA) using the software application EQS was run on the measurement model, in which all the instruments were assessed. The perceived privacy breach instrument had a Cronbach's alpha value of .89. The structural model was run in EQS and achieved a CFI fit of .86. There was a statistically significant relationship between perceived privacy breach and privacy concern, and between privacy concern and trust. Increase in trust was shown to have an effect on technology usage attitude. Hypotheses involving cognitive dissonance showed statistically significant results in the opposite direction.
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