Theses and Dissertations


Ali Vedadi

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Warkentin, Merrill

Committee Member

Dennis, Alan

Committee Member

Collier, Joel

Committee Member

Marett, Kent

Committee Member

Otondo, Robert

Date of Degree


Original embargo terms

Visible to MSU only for 3 years

Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access


Business Administration (Business Information Systems)

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


College of Business


Department of Management and Information Systems


IT users often make security-related decisions in complex and multidimensional environments. Over-reliance on current behavioral security theories (e.g. Protection Motivation Theory) that do not account for such circumstances can seriously limit researchers’ ability to comprehend such decision making. In this regard, herd behavior theory explains that when individuals make decisions in uncertain circumstances, they may observe what other people are doing, discount their own limited information and imitate others (also known as social learning). Explaining protection motivation behavior from a different theoretical perspective (i.e. herd behavior) is one of the primary contributions of this study. Investigating whether protection motivation behaviors influenced by herd mentality can impact continuous secure behavior, as a very important and understudied information security phenomenon, is the other contribution of this study. In other words, examining whether security behaviors can be influenced by herd-related factors in uncertain circumstances, as well as whether such behaviors persist over time, is central to this study. The findings of this research show that in uncertain circumstances and when there is awareness about the widespread use of a certain security technology, users develop a significantly higher protection motivation. Furthermore, the results show that at the postoption stage, users tend to heavily rely on their own information and disregard the herd-related factors.



protection motivation||experiment||information systems||security||herd behavior