Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Warkentin, Merrill

Committee Member

Otondo, Bob

Committee Member

Sullivan, Joe

Committee Member

Marett, Kent

Committee Member

Crossler, Robert

Date of Degree


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access


Business Information Systems

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


College of Business


Department of Management and Information Systems


The present study examines General Deterrence Theory (GDT) and its "parent," Rational Choice Theory (RCT), in an information security setting, assessing the behavioral intent to violate organizational policy under varying levels of certainty, severity and celerity of negative sanction. Also assessed is the individual computer user's time orientation, as measured by the Consideration of Future Consequences (CFC) instrument (Strathman et. al, 1994). How does rational consideration of violation rewards influence the impact of sanctions on individuals? How does time orientation impact intent to violate security policy? How do these operate in an IS context? These questions are examined by assessing the responses of university students (N = 443) to experimental manipulations of sanctions and rewards. Answering vignettes with the factorial survey method, intent to violate is assessed in a setting of Internet piracy of electronic textbooks while being monitored by computer security systems. Findings show that, although traditional GDT variables and reward impact intent to violate, CFC does not cause the hypothesized moderating effect on these variables. However, post-hoc analysis reveals a direct effect of time orientation on behavioral intent, as well as a weak moderating effect opposite of the hypotheses, indicating increased time orientation positively moderates, rather than negatively moderates, the impact of reward on intent to violate. Implications for theory and practice, and future research directions, are discussed.