Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Business Administration

First Advisor



Software piracy, the illegal and unauthorized duplication, sale, or distribution of software, is a widespread and costly phenomenon. According to the Business Software Alliance, more than one third of the PC software packages installed worldwide in 2006 were unauthorized copies. This behavior costs the software industry billions of lost dollars in revenue annually. Software piracy behavior has been investigated for more than thirty years. However, there are two voids in the literature: lack of studies in Non-Western countries and scarcity of process studies. As such, this study contributes to the literature by developing a software piracy model to understand the decision making process that underlies this illegal behavior among Jordanian university students. Based on a literature review in various disciplines, including social psychology, psychology, and criminology, several important variables have been incorporated into the proposed model. The model was tested using data collected from a sample of 323 undergraduate business students. The resulting data was analyzed by two main statistical techniques, structural equation modeling (SEM) and hierarchical multiple regression. The results indicated that the model was useful in predicting students' intention to pirate software. Seven out of eight hypotheses were supported. Consistent with The Theory of Reasoned Action, attitudes toward software piracy and subjective norms were significant predictors of intention to pirate software. However, our findings are inconsistent with previous studies with regard to the relative importance of attitude and subjective norms; subjective norms had a stronger effect. Also, the results suggested that ethical ideology, public self-consciousness, and low self-control moderated the effect of these variables on intention to pirate software. Lastly, the results indicated that the effect of subjective norms on afintention to pirate software was both direct and indirect through attitudes. The results have important practical implications for the software industry and governments to curtail software piracy. Limitations of the study and recommendations for future studies are discussed as well.




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