Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Marett, Kent

Committee Member

Chrisman, James J.

Committee Member

Sullivan, Joe

Committee Member

Crossler, Robert E.

Committee Member

Otondo, Robert F.

Date of Degree


Original embargo terms

MSU Only Indefinitely

Document Type

Dissertation - Campus Access Only


Business Information Systems

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


College of Business


Department of Management and Information Systems


Internet usage has become a norm in most organizations where organizations have started monitoring employee, Internet usage, e-mail communications, social network usage and etc. With the increased Internet usage, Internet misuse by employees has increased the potential for security vulnerabilities for these organizations. Organizations have established various security countermeasures such as sanctions, incentives, and Internet usage policies in order to prevent Internet misuse and protect the organizational information assets. However, it is important for organizations to understand whether these Internet usage polices are effective in mitigating the threats towards Internet misuse. Therefore, this dissertation investigates the impact of different countermeasures such as sanctions, incentives and awareness of being monitored on Internet usage policy compliance. Furthermore, it investigates the impact of organizational stewardship culture consisting of collectivism and low power distance, on Internet usage policy compliance behavior. A research model was developed to test the influence of penalties (sanction severity, sanction certainty, sanction celerity), incentives, collectivism and power distance on Internet usage policy compliance intention. Furthermore, it investigates the impact of awareness of being monitored which has not received much attention from information security researchers. In order to test the hypothesized relationships in the research model, data was collected utilizing an online survey through an online survey panel provider, Amazon Mechanical Turk. The findings indicate that, sanction certainty, awareness of being monitored, collectivism and power distance have a significant influence on Internet usage policy compliance intention of the sample population. Additionally, when employees are aware that they are being monitored, it increases the effectiveness of sanction severity and celerity. This dissertation makes several contributions to research and practitioners. It contributes to research by investigating the impact of two contrasting theories where agency theory assumes that employees are motivated through extrinsic factors whereas stewardship theory assumes that they are motivated through intrinsic means (organizational stewardship culture). It contributes to practitioners as well by highlighting the importance of controls such as computer monitoring, swift punishments in protecting organizational assets. As the results suggest, apart from the controls, organizational stewardship culture can play an important role in mitigating some of these threats as well.