Description: The concept of privacy has proven difficult to analyze because of its subjective nature and susceptibility to psychological and contextual influences. This study challenges the concept of privacy as a valid construct for addressing individuals' concerns regarding online disclosure of personal information, based on the premise that underlying behavioral traits offer a more reliable and temporally stable measure of privacy-oriented behavior than do snapshots of environmentally induced emotional states typically measured by opinion polls. This study investigated the relationship of personality characteristics associated with individuals' general privacy-related behavior to their online privacy behaviors and concerns. Two latent constructs, Functional Privacy Orientation and Online Privacy Orientation, were formulated. Functional Privacy Orientation is defined as a general measure of individuals' perception of control over their privacy. It was measured using the factors General Disclosiveness, Locus of Control, Generalized Trust, Risk Orientation, and Risk Propensity as indicator variables. Online Privacy Orientation is defined as a measure of individuals' perception of control over their privacy in an online environment. It was measured using the factors Willingness to Disclose Online, Level of Privacy Concern, Information Management Privacy Concerns, and Reported Online Disclosure as indicator variables. A survey questionnaire that included two new instruments to measure online disclosure and a willingness to disclose online was used to collect data from a sample of 274 adults. Indicator variables for each of the latent constructs, Functional Privacy Orientation and Online Privacy Orientation, were evaluated using corrected item-total correlations, factor analysis, and coefficient alpha. The measurement models and relationship between Functional Privacy Orientation and Online Privacy Orientation were assessed using exploratory factor analysis and structural equation modeling respectively. The structural model supported the hypothesis that Functional Privacy Orientation significantly influences Online Privacy Orientation. Theoretical, methodological, and practical implications and suggestions for analysis of privacy concerns and behavior are presented.
Date: May 2005
Creator: Grams, Brian C.