The Paradox of Private Information Disclosure: A Time Perspective Approach




Zanella, Gianluca

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This dissertation investigates the informational privacy paradox from a novel point of view, the time perspective. As a result of a growing exposure to online threats of personal information, scholars have produced a growing number of theories aiming to explain the phenomenon, sometimes with conflicting outcomes. To improve the understanding of the phenomenon, we extend previous theory by including the concept of individual time perspective in the decision-making process to disclose online personal information. Grounding our theoretical proposition on this general psychological mechanism sheds light on the nature of the online behavior that results in the privacy paradox. Moreover, the time perspective reconciles existent theories and enables researchers to explain past inconsistencies in their findings, providing theoretical grounds to test future frameworks.

This research conducts three studies to verify the effect of the time perspective on the disclosure of personal information. The first study based on a student’s sample provides evidence that the perception of time affects the online behavior. The second study tests that individual differences in time perspective aligns with the differences in temporal salience between the two components of the privacy calculus, namely the perceived risks and benefits of self-disclosure. The third study, based on a sample of wearable owners, tests the moderating effect of the individual time perspective on the decision-making process of online disclosure of personal information. The analysis of a structural equation model provides empirical support for the proposed model. This research contributes to literature by reconciling past theoretical contributions, such as hyperbolic theory, construal level theory, elaboration likelihood model, and heuristic-based models. The last section explores the impact of the time perspective on theory and practice, along with limitations of this research and suggestions for future research.


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cyber security, online privacy, Privacy paradox, sensitive information disclosure, Time, time perspective



Information Systems and Cyber Security