Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Information Systems

First Advisor

Gurpreet Dhillon

Second Advisor

Victoria Yoon

Third Advisor

Jason Merrick

Fourth Advisor

Jason Levy


This dissertation examines the identity threats perceived by individuals and organizations in Online Social Networks (OSNs). The research constitutes two major studies. Using the concepts of Value Focused Thinking and the related methodology of Multiple Objectives Decision Analysis, the first research study develops the qualitative and quantitative value models to explain the social identity threats perceived by individuals in Online Social Networks. The qualitative value model defines value hierarchy i.e. the fundamental objectives to prevent social identity threats and taxonomy of user responses, referred to as Social Identity Protection Responses (SIPR), to avert the social identity threats. The quantitative value model describes the utility of the current social networking sites and SIPR to achieve the fundamental objectives for averting social identity threats in OSNs. The second research study examines the threats to the external identity of organizations i.e. Information Security Reputation (ISR) in the aftermath of a data breach. The threat analysis is undertaken by examining the discourses related to the data breach at Home Depot and JPMorgan Chase in the popular microblogging website, Twitter, to identify: 1) the dimensions of information security discussed in the Twitter postings; 2) the attribution of data breach responsibility and the related sentiments expressed in the Twitter postings; and 3) the subsequent diffusion of the tweets that threaten organizational reputation.


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