Privacy attitudes and privacy-related behavior



A significant body of research has arisen over the last few decades describing the causes of observed incongruity between attitudes and behaviors. Recent work in the area of privacy has demonstrated this type of situation, in which people with negative attitudes toward the provision of personal information will disclose this very same infor- mation for no apparent benefit. However, little theoretical work has been developed to explain why this paradoxical anomaly exists. This paper suggests that attribution plays a crucial role and should be taken into account with regard to both the assessment of behavioral outcomes and the examination of attitude formation. The purpose of the current work, thus, is to consider the contribution of the two theoretical areas, attitude formation and attribution, in explaining the correspondence between privacy-related attitudes and behaviors. This represents a critical first step in understanding the antecedents of privacy-related behaviors and in further developing the under- standing of attitude models in general. As such, the paper suggests a framework and a set of propositions to guide future research and theoretical development. © 2007 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.