The impact of user privacy concerns and ethnic cultural values on attitudes toward the use of biometric technology
Biometric technology is rapidly gaining popularity as an access control mechanism in the workplace. In some instances, systems relying on biometric technology have not been well received by employees. One reason for resistance may be perceived privacy issues associated with biometrics. This research draws on previous organizational information handling and procedural fairness literature to examine the underlying privacy issues. Perceived accountability, perceived vulnerability, and lack of trust were distilled from the previous literature as the primary focal points of privacy concerns related to biometric technology. Together, these three constructs capture a user-centric view of privacy concerns associated with biometric technology in the workplace. Differences in perceptions of privacy based on the cultural influences of Anglos and Hispanics are also considered. These differences are modeled through the lens of ethnic self-construals where situations are viewed in either an independent or interdependent context.
An instrument consisting of the newly developed privacy constructs, the Singelis (1994) self-construal scales, and demographic data is developed, validated and administered in a quasi-experimental field study. The study site and subject pool selected for the field study are discussed along with implications for research validity. The data are analyzed using linear regression, ANOVA, Spearman's Rho, and split-plot factorial analyses.
The study shows that Anglo and Hispanic subjects are similar in their independent viewpoint but that Hispanics frame privacy issues based on their interdependent self-construal more often than Anglos. This interdependent viewpoint is a significant predictor of each of the three privacy dimensions associated with biometric technology. The analyses also show that the three privacy dimensions studied are significant predictors of attitude toward using biometrics. Finally, the study showed that lack of trust concerns and the perceived vulnerability concerns of Anglos can be alleviated through use of the system.