Goles, Jayatilaka, George, Parsons, Chambers, Taylor and Brune (2008)
|Goles, Jayatilaka, George, Parsons, Chambers, Taylor and Brune (2008)|
|Title:||Softlifting: Exploring determinants of attitude|
|Author(s):||Goles, T., Jayatilaka, B., George, B., Parsons, L., Chambers, V., Taylor, D., Brune, R.|
|Citation:||Goles, T., Jayatilaka, B., George, B., Parsons, L., Chambers, V., Taylor, D., & Brune, R. (2008). Softlifting: Exploring determinants of attitude. Journal of Business Ethics, 77(4), 481-499.|
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|About the Data|
|Data Description:||The sample for the study was drawn from the population of students in the business school of a state university. The business school had a student population of 4824, of whom 72% were undergraduates. Volunteers to participate were solicited from a wide variety of graduate and undergraduate business classes. The age of the participants ranged from 17 to 51, with a median age of 23. Fifty-two percent of the participants were female. Respondents included those with very little computer experience (less than one year) and those with more extensive usage experience (up to 26 years). The average participant had 5–7 years of experience with computers. Approximately 63% of the respondents live in households with annual income of at least $25,000. The surveys were administered using either the traditional pen and paper form or via the Internet. The resulting sample size is 455.|
|Data Type:||Primary data|
|Secondary Data Sources:|
|Data Collection Methods:|
|Data Analysis Methods:|
|Cross Country Study?:||No|
|Government or policy study?:|
|Time Period(s) of Collection:||
Softlifting, or the illegal duplication of copyrighted software by individuals for personal use, is a serious and costly problem for software developers and distributors. Understanding the factors that determine attitude toward softlifting is important in order to ascertain what motivates individuals to engage in the behavior. We examine a number of factors, including personal moral obligation (PMO), perceived usefulness, and awareness of the laws and regulations governing software acquisition and use, along with facets of personal self-identity that may play a role in the development of attitudes and therefore intentions regarding this behavior. These factors are examined across multiple settings expected to be pertinent to our survey respondents: home, work and school. Personal moral obligation and perceived usefulness are significant predictors of attitude across all settings. Past behavior is a significant predictor of intention across all settings, and a significant predictor of attitude in the home setting. We find evidence that awareness of the law causes a less favorable evaluation of softlifting in the school setting only, but has little effect in the home and work settings. As in previous studies, attitude is a significant predictor of intent. We do not find indications that one's personal self-identity influences one's attitude towards the behavior and the intention to perform it, except in the case of legal identity, where marginally significant effects are found in the work environment.
Main Results of the Study
Main results of the study:
- Perceived usefulness is shown to positively influence an individual's attitude toward softlifting.
- Additionally, one's moral obligation to avoid softlifting is significantly and negatively related to attitude toward this behavior. Prior research suggests that the moral component is an integral part of attitude and the empirical data strongly support this claim.
- Risk-taking personal identity is positively related to one's attitude toward softlifting. However, this relationship is only moderately significant (a = 0.10), and only in the school setting.
- Gender was not a significant factor in any setting. Previous research finds that males had a more favorable attitude towards software piracy than females, and suggests that one possible explanation might be that males were greater risk-takers. This study finds evidence to support the explanation offered by those prior studies.
- Legal personal identity is negatively related to one's attitude toward softlifting but this relation is only moderately significant (a = 0.10), and only in the work setting. The ability to detect this effect may be limited by the single-item measure used in this study. Nonetheless, the results support the expectation of a negative effect of legal personal identity on attitude; this seems a promising avenue for further research.
- Awareness of the law is significant in reducing a favorable attitude toward softlifting, but only at school, where a student runs a greater risk of loss of privileges or a blemish on his or her record.
- The research model is able to explain over 60% of the variance in attitude toward softlifting in all settings. Prior studies involving the Theory of Reasoned Action, the Theory of Planned Behavior and the Technology Acceptance Model have shown that attitude is an important determinant of behavioral intention.
- It is therefore important to understand the determinants of attitude in order to comprehend the reasons that such behavior exists. This model demonstrates that with a behavior that has a moral component (such as softlifting), personal moral attitude and legal personal identity are important in explaining attitude toward the behav- ior.
- Additionally, perceived usefulness is significant as well. This model could possibly be useful in predicting other behaviors that include a strong moral component.
- In addition to significant findings regarding the determinants of attitude toward softlifting, this research shows that when examining software piracy behavior, setting matters. Future research along these lines could produce intriguing results.
Policy Implications as Stated By Author
- A more effective approach to curtailing software piracy may be to gain a fuller understanding of how the roots of that behavior, specifically intention to commit software piracy and the antecedents of intent are formed among individuals. Then perhaps more effective measures to slow or prevent undesirable behavior such as software piracy may be developed.
Coverage of Study
|Level of aggregation:||University students|
|Period of material under study:||Not stated|